The deadly fire at the special newborn care unit (SNCU) of the Kamla Nehru Children’s Hospital in Bhopal started when a ventilator machine was plugged in and sparks flew, an inquiry report said on Wednesday.
The hospital management, meanwhile, asserted that only four infants died due to the fire at the government hospital on Monday night, and not more.
District collector Avinash Lavania submitted his report into the fire to the state government on Wednesday.
“According to Paediatrics Department head Jyotsna Shrivastava, the fire broke out in SNCU, located on the third floor, at around 8.30 pm on November 8 when the duty doctor and others plugged in an electric socket to start a ventilator. It sparked and fire broke out,” an official statement said, quoting the report.
The doctor tried to control the blaze using a fire extinguisher but smoke filled the room. The smoke kept coming from the burnt ventilator and glass panes of the windows were broken so that it could be blown away, it added.
Though all the children were taken out from the SNCU immediately, four children died, it said.
The dead children were yet to be named and therefore they were identified with reference to their parents — Baby of Sonali (age one day), Baby of Shajia (9 day), Baby of Irfan (3 days) and Baby of Rachna (one day).
There were 40 children admitted to SNCU at the time of the incident.
Three other children who died at the hospital on November 8 had succumbed before the fire started, according to Dr Shrivastava.
The death of some other children the next day was caused by different medical reasons, she said.
Often, children admitted in the SNCU are prematurely born or have serious congenital diseases, and the hospital treats them with utmost seriousness, she added.
Of the four children who died due to the fire incident, the bodies of three were handed over to their families after autopsy.
But after the family of one infant expressed suspicion about its identity, the body was kept in the mortuary and DNA samples were sent for examination, the official statement said.