Arrests Made After Deadly Fire in Delhi Newborn Hospital

Mon May 27 2024
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NEW DELHI, India: Indian police announced on Monday the arrest of a doctor and the owner of an unlicensed hospital where six newborn babies tragically died in a fire. The blaze occurred at the New Born Baby Care hospital in New Delhi’s Vivek Vihar area late Saturday evening.

The fire was initially noticed by bystanders who bravely entered the building to rescue the infants trapped inside. Unfortunately, their efforts were not enough to save all the newborns. Anjar Khan, who lost his 11-day-old daughter in the fire, expressed his grief, saying, “We didn’t even name her… I never even held her in my arms,” according to the Hindustan Times.

“We didn’t know that the hospital would kill him,” said Vinod Sharma, who lost his one-day-old baby boy, in reference to the hospital’s management, as reported by the Indian Express newspaper.

Fires are a common occurrence in India due to poor building practices, overcrowding, and lax adherence to safety regulations. The hospital building, a narrow two-storey structure squeezed between homes, lacked space for fire engines to access the site. Atul Garg, a local fire officer, told reporters, “We were trying to control the fire, but there was no way to enter the building and rescue the 12 babies who were trapped.”

Senior police officer Surendra Chaudhary informed AFP that the hospital did not have a fire exit system. The hospital’s license had expired in March, and it had crammed in more than twice the number of beds it was authorized for. “The hospital installed more than ten beds, even though they were only authorized to have five,” he stated. In light of everything, the arrests have been made.

Five babies rescued from the fire are still recovering in another hospital. The fire in the hospital on Saturday followed another tragic incident in an amusement park in Gujarat, where a blaze killed 28 people. This fire, which occurred in a center with a bowling alley and other games, was triggered by welding work on the ground floor. The fire chief officer, Ilesh Kher, said, “The CCTV footage clearly shows that a spark from the welding work fell on a stack of corrugated cardboard sheets below, causing the fire.”

The intensity of the heatwave gripping northern India, with temperatures in Delhi reaching 46.8 degrees Celsius (116.2 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday, added to the challenges faced by emergency services.

Both incidents highlight the urgent need for stricter enforcement of safety regulations to prevent such tragedies in the future.

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