Bhandara hospital fire: Maharashtra government panel starts recording statements of staff

NAGPUR: A committee formed by the Maharashtra government to probe the Bhandara hospital fire incident in which ten newborns died the day before has started recording statements of the hospital staff, a senior official said on Sunday.

The blaze had broken out at the Special Newborn Care Unit of the four-storeyed district hospital in Bhandara city in east Maharashtra, about 65 kms away from Nagpur. The Maharashtra government on Saturday announced the formation of a a six-member team headed by the director of the health department to probe the incident.

The team was directed to submit its report within three days. The team is headed by Nagpur Divisional Commissioner Sanjiv Kumar. The mandate of the committee is to find out the cause behind the fire and lapses, if any.

The official said that the probe team will also review the fire safety measures and other technical factors besides giving suggestions to prevent recurrence of such incidents in any hospital in the state. “The investigation has been started in the fire incident and recording of statements (of hospital staff) is underway,” he told PTI.

He said the committee will submit its report at the earliest. Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray met kin of the newborns who died in the blaze at the hospital and said orders have been issued for conducting safety audit of all hospitals in the state.

Speaking to reporters, Thackeray said the probe will ascertain if the fire was an accident or was the fallout of ignoring an earlier safety report.