Vijayawada: In a shocking incident, nine coronavirus patients were killed in a huge fire that broke out at a hotel which was being used as a COVID-19 facility in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijaywada early this morning.
The fire is suspected to have started on the ground floor and spread to the first and second floor, officials said.
Around 50 persons, including 30 coronavirus patients, were reported to be present at the Covid treatment facility set up at Hotel Swarna Palace when the tragedy struck.
City Police Commissioner Srinivasa Rao said that the fire broke out around 5 am.
According to initial information, suffocation due to smoke emanating from the fire is said to have caused most casualties.
Firefighters were rushed to the spot who rescued the treatment centre’s inmates with the help of ladders and rushed them to nearby hospitals in 15 ambulances.
Preliminary investigation found that a short circuit was the likely cause of the fire that started on the ground floor of the building. It later spread to the first floor that had been converted into a Covid care centre.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed shock and sorrow over the incident and ordered an inquiry.
State Endowments Minister Vellampalli Srinivas, who represents Vijayawada West Assembly constituency, visited the spot and supervised rescue operations.
The Minister said the inquiry will look into whether it was an accident or failure on part of the hospital management.
Sunday’s fire accident is the latest in a series of mishaps to strike Andhra Pradesh in the last few months.
In May, a gas leak in Visakhapatnam at LG Polymers had left 12 persons dead. Recently, 12 persons had died after consuming sanitisers due to alcohol addiction.