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Five babies killed in Patiala hospital fire

January 31, 2009 11:48 IST
Last Updated: January 31, 2009 11:50 IST

Five new born babies were burnt alive and two others were seriously injured at a private hospital in Patiala in the wee hours on Saturday when the incubators they were kept in caught fire due to a suspected short circuit.

A total of 10 children undergoing treatment for jaundice at the private hospital were kept in photo therapy units when the wires of the machine caught fire, charring five of them to death, including three boys and two girls.

Photo therapy (light treatment) is used for the treatment of jaundice. Two other children were seriously injured while three others were rescued. The victims were in the age group of three to seven days.

The fire could have been broken out due to a short circuit around 3:30 am, Superintendent of Police, Gurmit Singh Chahuan told PTI.

The seriously injured two children have been referred to PGI, Chandigarh.

Surinder Singh, Superintendent of the Rajinder Hospital where the mishap took place said the infants were kept in photo therapy units as they were suffering from jaundice.

"There was a short circuit in the tubes of the machines. The staff reacted immediately but unfortunately five babies could not be saved," he was quoted as saying by a television channel.

Some hospital sources claimed that the machines were not well-equipped.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has ordered an magisterial inquiry in the incident and announced an ex-gratia of Rs one lakh to the families of the children killed in the mishap.

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