11 people were killed in a huge fire that broke out at Vijayawada hotel- Swarna Palace, early this morning. The hotel was being used as a Covid care centre in Andhra Pradesh . At least seven panicked and jumped from the terrace as the flames reached the upper floors. Two others were asphyxiated by the fumes.
While the State Fire Safety Director Jayram Naik claimed that the hotel violated fire safety rules, questions are also being raised on the government’s laid back response. A blame game began as the government claimed that the hotel was used as a Covid care centre only after the hospital management procured all relevant permissions. However, as confirmed by the Fire Department, the hospital management didn’t procure a NOC before converting the hotel into a Covid care centre. It operated without necessary permissions. A case has been registered against the management of hotel as it violated safety rules.
PM Modi ‘anguished’ by fire at Vijayawada Covid care centre
PM Modi offered condolences to the families who lost their dear ones. “Anguished by the fire at a Covid Centre in Vijayawada. My thoughts are with those who have lost their loved ones. I pray that the injured recover as soon as possible. Discussed the prevailing situation with AP CM,” he tweeted.
Vijayawada Police Commissioner reported that 30 covid patients were being treated at the centre. He said that 20 have been rescued so far. “The fire was reported at around 5:09 am and the fire was controlled within 25-30 minutes. And 15-20 people were rescued and sent to another private hospital. Some are in critical condition in the hospital. About 30 Covid-19 patients and 10 hospital staff were here,” he said.
The fire broke out in the Vijayawada hotel due to a short circuit in an air-conditioner on the ground floor, as said by the government. However, controlled in 25-30 minutes, the loss was reduced. Union Minister G Kishan Reddy said that NDRF teams have now joined the local authorities to carry out relief operations. He also offered prayers to the families of the deceased.
CM of Andhra announces Ex-gratia of 50 lakh
The CM of Andhra Pradesh, Jagan Reddy expressed great distress due to the incident at the covid care centre. He asked the authorities to carry an in depth inquiry of the incident and report about the probe to him. He also directed immediate action on providing better medical facilities to the victims of the accident. He also announced ex-gratia of Rs. 50 lakh to those killed during the accident.
Image Credits: ANI