Investigation into hospital fire in Delhi finds serious safety violations : The Tribune India

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Investigation into hospital fire in Delhi finds serious safety violations

Five of 27 oxygen cylinders exploded at neonatal facility: FIR

Investigation into hospital fire in Delhi finds serious safety violations

A team from the Forensic Science Laboratory inspects the Baby Care Newborn Hospital on Monday. TRIBUNE PHOTO: MUKESH AGGARWAL



Tribune News Service

Anshita Mehra

New Delhi, May 27

Following the tragic fire incident at Baby Care Hospital at Vivek Vihar, East Delhi, late on Saturday night that claimed the lives of six newborn babies, the hospital owner, Dr Naveen Khichi, and Dr Akash, who was on duty that night, were arrested last evening and sent to police remand for three days.

NCPCR: No emergency exits

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) took suo motu cognisance of the incident and visited the site on Monday. It noted serious violations, including the absence of emergency exits, non-functional fire extinguishers, faulty fire alarms, and malfunctioning automatic water sprinkler systems-contrary to the National Building Code of India, 2016, and National Disaster Management Authority guidelines.

According to reports, 27 oxygen cylinders were at the private neonatal care facility, five of which were found to have burst. The victims, aged between one day and 25 days, were undergoing treatment for various illnesses. Some of them were firstborn, while others were miracle babies born after their parents’ previous losses.

The Delhi Fire Service suspects the fire was caused by a short-circuit in the hospital’s wiring. As the flames spread, oxygen cylinders near the reception and on the front porch also caught fire, exacerbating the situation.

Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) teams, despite challenges due to the intense heat, found burnt debris from a van, near the wall, and burnt wire pieces at the scene. The ground floor and nearby buildings were also significantly damaged by the blaze.

Initial investigations revealed that the hospital had been operating without a valid registration from the Directorate General of Health Services, which had expired nearly two months ago. Moreover, the facility lacked a qualified doctor on duty at the time of the incident and had not obtained clearance from the Fire Department.

The hospital, authorised to admit only five patients, was found to have 12 newborns under its care when the fire erupted, with only two nurses and a doctor present.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) took suo motu cognisance of the incident and visited the site on Monday. It noted serious violations, including the absence of emergency exits, non-functional fire extinguishers, faulty fire alarms, and malfunctioning automatic water sprinkler systems—contrary to the National Building Code of India, 2016, and National Disaster Management Authority guidelines.

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