9 killed in fire at Vijayawada hotel used as Covid facility
#VIJAYAWADA: At least 9 people died after a fire broke out in a hotel turned into Covid-19 care centre by a private hospital at Vijayawada at around 5am on Sunday. About 50 Covid-19 patients were being treated at the time of the incident. Electric short circuit is said to be the cause of fire according to preliminary reports.
Swarna Palace hotel situated on Eluru Road was taken on lease by Ramesh Hospital to treat Covid-19 patients. About 50 patients were admitted in the Swarna Palace in last two weeks by the hospital. About 10 para medical staff were assisting them at the time of the incident.
Most of the deaths have taken place due to suffocation from smoke, according to officials. As Covid-19 patients were already suffering with respiratory problems, and thick smoke further aggravated their conditions. Many patients were heard screaming for help from the windows of hotel rooms.
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Fire personnel broke open the windows to rescue the victims
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed deep shock at the incident, and assured the state administration of all support.
Coronavirus pandemic live updates According to the Vijayawada city police commissioner B Srinivasulu, the fire first broke out on the ground floor near the reception area and rapidly spread to the first floor. Images captured by the bystanders also showed huge fire at the reception area.
Srinivasulu said that they have rescued about 30 people and the fire was brought under control within 25 minutes. He said the control room received an SOS at around 5:15am. The fire and quick response teams rushed to the spot and started the rescue operation, he said. The patients were brought out using ladders as the stair cases were engulfed in fire and there was no external fire exit in the building.
Fire personnel broke open the windows to rescue the victims. The Covid-19 patients were rushed to other hospitals in special ambulances.