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22 Jun 2024 15:14
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  •   Home > News > International

    Second deadly fire in India kills six infants at children's hospital in Delhi

    Six other babies were rescued and taken to another hospital where they remain in a critical condition. It's the second deadly blaze in India this weekend.

    At least six infants have died after a fire broke out in a children's hospital in India's capital on Saturday night, officials have said.

    Warning: This story contains graphic details

    Six newborns were rescued from the blaze and taken to another hospital, fire service officer Suresh Kumar said on Sunday.

    The fire on the first floor of the hospital was extinguished in about an hour, Mr Kumar said.

    The blaze also impacted a home next door, but no injuries were reported.

    The cause of the fire in the Vivek Vihar district of east Delhi was being investigated.

    Resident Ashok Gupta told the ABC they heard at least four explosions around 11.30pm on Saturday night local time.

    "Our house shook and we went outside in fear," Mr Gupta said.

    "You can see yourself this was being used as a storage unit for oxygen cylinders," Mr Gupta claimed.

    At least a dozen oxygen cylinders could be seen inside the hospital wreckage, and several had exploded with such force they landed hundreds of metres away.

    Jitender Singh Shunty, runs a volunteer ambulance service and helped rescue the newborns.

    "The fire was catastrophic. The police and fire brigade was here but we couldn't figure out how to get in. So we went from the windows in the back," Mr Shunty said.

    "There was a lot of smoke. Babies were burning inside their cots, but we were able to shift 12.

    "Six were alive and six had died. The babies were tiny.

    "The incident was horrific. I checked every corner of the building to make sure there was no-one else inside."

    Mr Shunty has accused the local health department of negligence, questioning why there was a hospital in the middle of a residential neighbourhood.

    "A regular cylinder used for cooking has one to three kilograms of pressure in it. These ones have 150kg. Which means the can fly like rockets," he said.

    "This incident was relatively small. It was daytime and there was a crowd then many more could have died.

    "That's why I think this is serious carelessness from the health department."

    Second deadly fire in two days

    Earlier on Saturday, at least 33 people were killed in a fire at a crowded amusement park in the city of Rajkot in Gujarat state in western India.

    The Hindu newspaper reports nine of the victims were children under 16.

    The four-year-old amusement park was reportedly built in temporary structures that had tin roofs and two floors.

    Local police said the victims were charred beyond recognition.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation, but local police say they will file a negligence claim against the owner of the amusement park.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences on social media platform X.

    "Extremely distressed by the fire mishap in Rajkot. My thoughts are with all those who have lost their loved ones. Prayers for the injured. The local administration is working to provide all possible assistance to those affected," he wrote.

    Fires are common in India, where builders and residents often flout building laws and safety codes.


    © 2024 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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