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Seven newborns die in fire at east Delhi children's hospital

The Delhi Fire Services (DFS) said that it received a call at 11.32 pm on Saturday night and sent nine fire tenders to the site. As many as twelve newborns were rescued from the building.
Last Updated : 26 May 2024, 03:58 IST
Last Updated : 26 May 2024, 03:58 IST

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Seven infants died after a massive fire broke out at a children’s hospital in the Vivek Vihar area of East Delhi on Saturday night, which led to the arrest of the owner and revealed discomfiting facts in the way the facility was run.

Delhi Police said the clearance for the Baby Care New Born Hospital had expired in March this year and that the building didn’t have a fire exit system.

Following the arrest, the police booked owner Naveen Kichi, who had been absconding, under IPC sections 336 (endangering life), 304A (causing death by negligence), and added 304 (culpable homicide) and 308 (attempt to culpable homicide) later.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said that those responsible will be punished. “The causes of the incident are being investigated and whoever is responsible for this negligence will not be spared,” Kejriwal said in a post on X. Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the fire tragedy “heart-rending” announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh from Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) to the next of kin of each deceased.

DCP Shahdara Surendra Chaudhary said the NOC for the hospital expired on March 31. “The hospital had permission for up to five beds but they had installed more than 10 beds. They did not have a fire exit system. So in view of all this, we have added sections 304 and 308 of IPC in FIR and we have arrested its director, Dr Naveen Kichi,” he said.

Chaudhary added that another doctor on duty, Dr Akash, has also been arrested. Kichi ran three such other clinics, police said.

The Delhi Fire Services (DFS) said that it received a call at 11.32 pm on Saturday night and sent nine fire tenders to the site. As many as twelve newborns were rescued from the building.

“It was a very tough operation,” DFS chief Atul Garg said. “We made two teams. One team started fire fighting because there was a blast of cylinders. So we had to save ourselves also. We started rescue operations for babies as well. Unfortunately, we could not save all the children. We removed all the twelve babies to the hospital. But after arrival, they declared that six were dead. That is a regrettable incident.”

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said that the Commission will send a team.

“The Commission has taken cognisance of the incident of fire in a hospital in Vivek Vihar area in Delhi and the death of newborn babies. A team of CrPC @NCPCR_ will visit the hospital today to investigate the incident. Official information will be shared after the team’s visit,” Kanoongo posted on X.

Owner Naveen Kichi has been booked under IPC sections 336 (endangering life), 304A (causing death by negligence), 304 (culpable homicide) and 308 (attempt to culpable homicide).

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Published 25 May 2024, 20:08 IST

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