A massive fire at the Baby Care New Born Hospital in East Delhi’s Vivek Vihar has resulted in the deaths of seven newborns. The incident was occurred late Saturday night and has uncovered severe lapses in safety protocols, licensing, and staffing at the facility. The fire started around 11:30 pm, a swift response from the Delhi Fire Services (DFS), who received the emergency call at 11:32 pm and dispatched nine fire tenders to the site.

Delhi Hospital Fire: 7 Newborns Dead, Owner of Baby Care Centre Arrested

Also Read: Ozempic Reduces Risk of Death from Diabetes and Kidney Disease

Seven newborns lost their lives. Five infants sustained minor burn injuries and are receiving treatment at another hospital. The deceased included four boys and three girls aged between 15 and 25 days.

The fire erupted around 11:30 PM on Saturday, May 25, 2024. Reports suggest that the cause of the fire was a short circuit. The fire quickly spread due to the explosion of oxygen cylinders stored on the premises.

Local residents and members of the Shaheed Seva Dal non-profit were first on the scene, scaling walls to rescue trapped infants.

The Delhi Fire Services (DFS) deployed 16 fire tenders to control the blaze which also damaged two adjacent buildings.

The hospital was operating without a valid license which had expired on March 31, 2024. The facility lacked essential fire safety measures including fire extinguishers and emergency exits.

The hospital’s No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the fire department had also expired. Authorized to have only five beds, the hospital had 12 newborns admitted at the time of the fire.

The doctor on duty identified only as Akash, was not qualified to treat newborns in need of neonatal intensive care. He held a BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) degree, unsuitable for neonatal care.

Dr. Naveen Khichi, the hospital owner and Dr. Akash were arrested. Both have been charged with culpable homicide.

Delhi’s Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed sorrow over the incident.

Mr. Modi announced an ex gratia of ₹200,000 to the families of the deceased and ₹50,000 to those injured. The Delhi government has ordered a magisterial inquiry to investigate the incident thoroughly.

Firefighters faced challenges during the rescue operations due to a series of oxygen cylinder explosions. Despite these difficulties they managed to rescue 12 newborns from the burning building.

Out of the 12 newborns rescued, six were declared dead upon arrival at the hospital. The death toll rose to seven as another infant succumbed to injuries.

The remaining five newborns are currently receiving medical treatment. Atul Garg, the DFS chief, described the operation as tough due to the continuous explosions of oxygen cylinders.

Dr. Naveen Khichi, the owner of the Baby Care New Born Hospital was arrested by the Delhi Police on Sunday after being on the run since the incident.

He is now under police interrogation. An FIR has been filed against Dr. Naveen under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including sections 336 (endangering life or personal safety of others), 304A (causing death by negligence), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

Dr. Naveen has a history of criminal negligence. In 2021 he was booked for the alleged mistreatment of a newborn, which involved a nurse beating the baby and fracturing the infant’s hand.

Also Read: Fish Oil Supplements May Increase Risk of Stroke and Heart Issues

The hospital was also found to be operating without proper registration under the Delhi Nursing Home Act during that incident.

The Delhi government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident. Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena directed Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar to institute an investigation to determine the cause of the fire and identify those responsible for any negligence.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences to the families and announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased and Rs 50,000 to those injured.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal described the incident as heart-rending and assured that those responsible for the negligence would face strict punishment.

Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj addressed the need for strict action against anyone found guilty of wrongdoing.

The fire broke out in Block B of the Vivek Vihar area near ITI. The emergency call was made at 11:32 pm, and the fire was eventually brought under control in the early hours of Sunday.

Preliminary investigations suggest that an oxygen cylinder explosion triggered the fire. This caused a chain reaction of explosions, complicating the rescue efforts and leading to damage. Besides the hospital, the fire also engulfed a scooter, an ambulance and a portion of a nearby park.

President Droupadi Murmu expressed sorrow over the incident and extended her prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured children.

Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Smriti Irani, conveyed her condolences to the families and wished for the quick recovery of the injured infants.

Investigators are looking into whether the hospital had obtained a fire No-Objection Certificate (NOC). Reports indicate that the facility likely did not possess the necessary fire safety clearances.

The ordered magisterial inquiry will scrutinize all aspects of the incident including the hospital’s adherence to safety regulations and the actions of the staff during the emergency.

The Delhi government has pledged to ensure that similar incidents do not occur in the future by enforcing stricter compliance with safety norms and conducting regular inspections of healthcare facilities.

The Baby Care New Born Hospital has a troubling history of negligence. In addition to the 2021 incident involving the mistreatment of a newborn, the hospital was found operating without proper registration under the Delhi Nursing Home Act, which mandates specific standards for all healthcare facilities.

Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj convened a meeting to address the issue and discuss preventive measures.

Officials are exploring the possibility of the hospital running an illegal oxygen cylinder filling racket based on local reports of suspicious activities.

Fires in residential and commercial buildings are common due to lax enforcement of safety regulations. The incident in Delhi followed another fire in a gaming arcade in Rajkot, Gujarat, which killed 27 people.

A magisterial inquiry has been launched to determine the exact cause of the fire and identify lapses. The police are investigating illegal activities related to the storage and use of oxygen cylinders at the hospital.

Also Read: MP Craig Mackinlay Returns to Parliament After Sepsis-Related Amputations

Top Sources Related to Delhi Hospital Fire: 7 Newborns Dead, Owner of Baby Care Centre Arrested (For R&D)

Live Mint:



BBC News:

Hindustan Times:

India Today: