Baby among 8 killed in Mumbai hospital fire

An employee of the government-run ESIC Kamgar hospital in Mumbai with a placard thanking hospital staff and firefighters for saving the lives of people on the hospital premises after it caught fire on Monday. The cause of the blaze is not yet known b
An employee of the government-run ESIC Kamgar hospital in Mumbai with a placard thanking hospital staff and firefighters for saving the lives of people on the hospital premises after it caught fire on Monday. The cause of the blaze is not yet known but a fire official said the hospital had not sought a proper safety inspection. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
An employee of the government-run ESIC Kamgar hospital in Mumbai with a placard thanking hospital staff and firefighters for saving the lives of people on the hospital premises after it caught fire on Monday. The cause of the blaze is not yet known b
An employee of the government-run ESIC Kamgar hospital in Mumbai with a placard thanking hospital staff and firefighters for saving the lives of people on the hospital premises after it caught fire on Monday. The cause of the blaze is not yet known but a fire official said the hospital (above) had not sought a proper safety inspection. PHOTO: REUTERS

MUMBAI • A three-month-old baby was among eight people killed in a fire at a Mumbai hospital, officials said yesterday, in the latest disaster to highlight lax safety standards in India.

The blaze broke out around 4pm local time on Monday on the fourth floor of a government-run hospital in the northern suburb of Andheri.

The death toll rose from six to eight yesterday, a spokesman for the city’s disaster management cell said.

A further 140 people, including patients, doctors and nurses, were rescued and were being treated at hospitals across the city, he said.

The cause of the blaze at the ESIC Kamgar hospital is not yet known but a fire official said that the hospital had not sought a proper safety inspection.

“It is a 1970s building and no fire safety audit had been carried out,” said deputy chief fire officer M. D. Ogle at the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, a state government agency. “It is up to the occupier to seek an inspection.”

Accidental fires are common across India because of poor safety standards and lax enforcement of regulations. They are particularly common in densely populated Mumbai, India’s financial capital.

In December last year, at least 14 people were killed when a huge blaze tore through a popular restaurant in the city.

Earlier that month, a fire swept through a Mumbai sweet shop, sparking a building collapse which killed 12 sleeping workers.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2018, with the headline 'Baby among 8 killed in Mumbai hospital fire'. Print Edition | Subscribe