In a gruesome fire accident, four new-borns died on the first Monday night after Diwali in a fire that broke out at a government hospital in Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal. The fire swept through a special unit of the Kamala Nehru Children's Hospital. "Four children died in the fire that broke out in the special newborn care unit (SNCU) ward probably due to a short circuit. We reached the spot along with others soon after getting information about the incident. It was dark inside the ward. We shifted the children to the adjacent ward," State Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang said. “The blaze started in the ward on the third-floor of the hospital, which has the ICU, at around 9 pm and 8-10 fire engines were rushed to the site,” said Fatehgarh Fire Station in-charge Juber Khan.

Earlier, on 6th November, a fire had broken out at Hansa Heritage building in suburban Kandivali West in Mumbai. It was the second fire incident in a day in Maharashtra. Earlier that day, a fire broke out in Ahmednagar District Hospital. As many as 17 patients were admitted to Covid-dedicated wards at the hospital. At least 11 patients succumbed to injuries and six sustained minor or major injuries at the time of reporting this.

So, is there a common thread here? Of course, there is. Note that it would seem that hospitals and nursing homes are fire hazards for sure. Because if we were to look back, there have been many fire accidents in covid hospitals and others in the last few months. The chances of more lives being lost in hospitals are higher because the sick and infirm are unable to escape as easily as normal fit people in such situations and fire does not give much time.

It therefore makes it necessary that hospitals, clinics and nursing institutions take note and beef up their exigency and fire safety protocols on priority. Especially since it is mandated by the civic and disaster management bodies and negligence can have, and in many cases have had, severe consequences for the owners, promoters and all concerned. Prevention is better than cure and more so in fire emergencies.

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