At least eleven COVID-19 patients who were undergoing treatment for the deadly coronavirus died after a fire broke out in a hospital’s ward in the Maharashtra state of India on Saturday, Nov. 6.

On Saturday, at around 11 a.m, three staff members who were posted in the COVID-19 ward of the Ahmednagar facility raised the alarm after they noticed a fire erupt in their unit. Staffers from nearby wards rushed in and managed to help them move some 17 patients out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Out of the 17 patients who were evacuated, however, 11 subsequently died as the oxygen supply of their ventilators reportedly got cut off. The other six patients are reportedly now in stable condition, Daily News related.

The Ahmednagar Fire Brigade rushed three fire engines and water tankers to the hospital and brought the situation under control after 45 minutes of fire-fighting.

The hospital administration reportedly told the state ministers that the fire was caused by an electrical short-circuit. However, the Fire Brigade said that the facility ignored shortcomings that they had pointed out during two previous fire audits in the last six years, the Associated Press reported.

Meanwhile, the state government has announced a compensation of US$6,741 (500,000 Indian Rupees) each to the next of kin of those who died in the tragic incident.

Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister, took to Twitter and expressed his sympathies, writing that he was “anguished by the loss of lives.”

“Condolences to the bereaved families,” he continued. “May the injured recover at the earliest.”

Earlier this year, at least eighteen COVID-19 patients died in a fire at Welfare Hospital in Bharuch in Gujarat, India on May 1.

On May 1, at around 12:35 a.m, the fire reportedly erupted after being sparked by an electrical short circuit. The blaze quickly spread to the adjacent intensive care unit, the Hindu reported.

Hospital workers and firefighters jointly worked and rescued 31 patients. However, 18 COVID-19 victims died in the fire that reportedly took one hour to extinguish.

A month prior to this, in April, another fire killed 13 COVID-19 patients in a hospital intensive care unit near Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

In another incident, in May, twelve people, including a doctor on staff, were reported dead after the facility ran out of oxygen for the second time in a week at Batra Hospital in Delhi, NDTV reported.

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