An employee of the Vijay Vallabh hospital in Virar where 13 Covid-19 patients died after a major fire said that the air conditioning system there was not working since Thursday afternoon and repair work was going on, reported PTI.
District Disaster Control Cell chief Vivekanand Kadam had said that the fire on the second floor of the four-storeyed hospital was preceded by an explosion in the AC unit of the intensive care unit.
There were 90 patients in the hospital, 18 of them in the ICU, when the fire broke. As many as five women and eight men died.
The hospital employee said the facility had been facing some problem with its AC system in the Covid-19 ward.
“When I went to the hospital yesterday afternoon, the air conditioner was not working in the Covid-19 ward of the hospital. I saw that some repair work was going on at that time as AC panels were removed,” Supriya Deshmukh, a staffer at the hospital was quoted as saying.
“Meanwhile, the hospital set up some fans as a temporary arrangement. After finishing my work and I returned home late in the evening,” she added.
The relatives of the Covid-19 patients who died in the incident, complained about the hospital’s alleged mismanagement to Shiv Sena leader and state minister Eknath Shinde, when he went to take stock of the situation.
The relatives told him that the hospital was understaffed, due to which proper attention was given to the patients.
Shinde told them that appropriate action would be taken and announced that financial assistance of ₹5 lakh each will be provided to the families of those who lost their lives.
“This is a big accident. Those found responsible will not be spared. The government will provide financial assistance of ₹5 lakhs each to the families of those who lost their lives,” Eknath Shinde was quoted as saying by ANI.
Earlier, state Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray expressed grief over the incident and directed the local administration to probe the cause of the blaze.
A statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said that Thackeray spoke to the district authorities on learning about the fire incident.
He asked the authorities to shift the other patients elsewhere.
With inputs from agencies.