Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said strict action will be taken against those found responsible for the fire at a hospital in a Mumbai mall, which resulted in the death of 10 patients.
Speaking to reporters after visiting the mall, Thackeray apologised to the families of the victims and announced Rs 5 lakh compensation to the kin of each deceased.
Thackeray said the fire did not break out in the hospital, but at some office or shop situated below it.
According to officials, the incident occurred in Sunrise Hospital in the Dreams Mall building in Bhandup area shortly after Thursday midnight. The hospital is located on the top floor of the four-storeyed mall building and there were 76 patients, most of them being treated for COVID-19, when the fire broke out.
The chief minister said the state government had last year allowed some hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients given the spread of the disease and the said that the facility in the Bhandup mall was one of them.
"The permission was to end on March 31. Unfortunately, the fire broke on the first floor of the mall and spread upwards," he said.
The chief minister said that efforts were made to rescue all the patients admitted at the hospital. However, it took some time to evacuate those who were on ventilators.
"Unfortunately, they died," he said.
"We wake up after such incidents take place and then a probe is carried out. This incident, too, will be investigated. Action will be taken as per law probe against whoever is at fault," Thackeray added.
He said that in the recent past he had issued instructions to carry out structural and fire audits of COVID-19 care centres and field hospitals across the state.
"I had asked (the authorities) to ensure such incidents do not occur. Still, unfortunately, this has taken place.
"...I express regret to those who have lost their kin in the incident," he said in Marathi.
Speaking in Hindi, Thackeray later said, "I apologise to the kin of those who died in the incident."
The chief minister said that compensation of Rs 5 lakh will be given to the next kin of each deceased.