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Fire kills four newborn babies at children's hospital in India

Four newborn babies have died after a fire broke out at a children's hospital in India, officials said.

The blaze swept through the neonatal unit at the Kamla Nehru Children's Hospital in Bhopal, which is in the Madhya Pradesh state in central India.

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan has ordered an investigation after the incident on Monday night.

At least 40 children were in the unit, out of which 36 were rescued, medical education minister Vishwas Sarang said.

He said he arrived at the hospital within 10 minutes after the incident and that everything was now under control.

A man carries a child out from the Kamla Nehru Children's Hospital after a fire in the newborn care unit of the hospital killed four infants, in Bhopal. Pic AP

© Associated Press A man carries a child out from the Kamla Nehru Children's Hospital after a fire in the newborn care unit of the hospital killed four infants, in Bhopal. Pic AP

"The untimely death of children from the world is an unbearable pain," Mr Chauhan said on Twitter, offering his condolences to the families affected.

While an inquiry is still ongoing, authorities told the Press Trust of India that a short circuit may have caused the fire.

Fatal building fires are not uncommon in India, where poor maintenance and lack of proper firefighting equipment often lead to deaths.

On Saturday, at least 10 people died after a fire broke out in a hospital's COVID-19 warn in Maharashtra.

According to an official, there were 17 patients in the hospital's ward in Ahmednagar when the fire broke out and the remaining patients have been moved to a COVID-19 ward in another hospital.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear, district magistrate Rajendra Bhosle said.

The former chief minister of the state, Devendra Fadnavis, took to Twitter to express his condolences and called for "strict action" against those responsible.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that he is "anguished by the loss of lives due to a fire in a hospital in Ahmednagar".

"Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover at the earliest," Mr Modi added.

In May, when the country was battling a devastating surge in coronavirus cases, a fire in a COVID-19 ward in western India killed at least 18 patients. 

Reference: Sky News: Amar Mehta, news reporter

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