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Mumbai: Death toll in ESIC Kamgar Hospital fire rises to 10

The death toll in the Mumbai hospital fire rose to 10 on Thursday as another person succumbed to injuries. 175 injured people, including some children, are currently undergoing treatment at various hospitals across the city.

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Firefighters conduct rescue after a major fire broke out at ESIC Kamgar Hospital, Monday, Dec. 17, 2018. (PTI Photo)
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The death toll in the Mumbai hospital fire rose to 10 on Thursday as another person succumbed to injuries. 175 injured people, including some children, are currently undergoing treatment at various hospitals across the city.

The fire broke out in the government-run ESIC Kamgar Hospital at Marol in suburban Andheri Monday, killing six people. The death toll rose to eight Tuesday with two persons dying in different hospitals. On Wednesday, a 65-year-old woman died due to her injuries,  taking the toll to nine. 

Dattu Kisan Naravade, 65, who was undergoing treatment at Holy Spirit Hospital in Andheri succumbed to his injuries on Thursday, an official at the hospital said. 

The 325-bed hospital did not have a final No Objection Certificate (NOC) from fire department,said deputy fire officer of Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) on Tuesday.

The Occupation Certificate (OC) from fire department, a mandatory certification needed for such institutes to function, was also not obtained by the hospital, PTI reported. 

The investigation into what caused the blaze has exposed a number of pitfalls in its fire and safety measures. The installation and operation of extinguishers, maintenance of the fire detection system (including the fire alarm system and layout of sprinklers) was not in tune with the provisions of the National Building Code (NBC), the Maharashtra Fire Prevention & Life Safety Measures Act and the Maharashtra Hospital and Nursing Home Act.

Nearly 375 people, including patients and visitors, were in the five-floor hospital when the fire broke out, an official said. The blaze appeared to have erupted after a short-circuit near the rubber rolls stored on the ground floor, he said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday ordered a probe and the the Union Labour Ministry also announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the kin of each of the deceased, Rs 2 lakh for victims who received serious injuries and Rs 1 lakh for those who suffered minor injuries.

The MIDC Police on Wednesday arrested two persons, including an engineer, in connection with the tragedy. Two other accused, including a technician, are wanted in the case.

The arrested persons have been identified as site engineer Nilesh Mehta and site supervisor Nitin Kamble, arrested under sections 304A (causing death by negligence) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).

Meanwhile, the state-run Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) has ordered a probe into shortcomings of implementation of fire safety norms by the ESIC hospital management. The MIDC has given the hospital one week to respond, and has said it may proceed with legal action, including closure of the hospital, if it fails to rectify lapses.

The hospital currently lacks a final fire approval and no objection certificate (NOC), which is mandatory as per provisions of the MIDC Fire and Life Safety Regulations, 2007, and the Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act (Maharashtra), 2009.

"It's mandatory for hospitals in the MIDC area to acquire final fire NOC. MIDC had granted a provisional fire NOC to ESIC for its new building in April 2009 for the construction of a 40,000 sq. metre building. The provisional NOC was later renewed for 44,000 sq. metres in August this year. The hospital had applied for the final NOC a fortnight ago for its under-construction building adjacent to the old structure that caught fire," an MIDC officer said.

(With PTI inputs)

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