Oxygen Cylinders Began To Explode: When Fire At Delhi Hospital Killed 7

Delhi Fire News Updates: The fire, which erupted around 11.32 pm, quickly intensified due to the presence of numerous oxygen cylinders that began to explode.

Vivek Vihar Baby Care centre fire led to the death of 7 newborns.

New Delhi:

Seven newborns were killed when a fire tore through a children's hospital in eastern Delhi late last night. The owner of the hospital has been arrested, the Delhi Police said.

"Twelve newborn babies were rescued from the hospital with the help of other people," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) Surendra Choudhary said in a statement, but adding that when they reached medical attention, seven were dead.

The police said the owner of the hospital, Dr Naveen, is being questioned and he runs many other hospitals for babies in the national capital. 

The fire, which erupted around 11.32 pm, quickly intensified due to the presence of numerous oxygen cylinders that began to explode, spreading the blaze further and causing extensive damage.

"We received the call at 11.32 pm and initially dispatched seven fire trucks, followed by an additional fourteen. There were 4-5 explosions that significantly worsened the fire, with oxygen cylinders being hurled as far as 50 meters away. The building, which was ground plus three stories high, housed the children on the first floor and a storage area on the second. The fire spread to adjacent floors as well," Atul Garg, Chief Fire Officer told NDTV detailing the harrowing events of the night.

Firefighters battled the inferno for three hours, during which time the challenges of locating and rescuing the infants added to the difficulties.

"We did not know the exact number of children inside," Mr Garg added. "The initial cause of the fire seems to have been an electrical pole igniting, which then set fire to a parked vehicle, eventually causing the oxygen cylinders to catch fire."

Mr Garg also noted that while the building had reportedly acquired a No Objection Certificate (NOC), the fire department had no records of it. "We are verifying the NOC. If it's found lacking, we will recommend the building's closure. An investigation is underway to determine if proper firefighting measures were in place, but it's difficult to assess right now as the building is completely gutted."

Realising the gravity of the situation, the owner of the hospital, Naveen Kichi, fled before the police reached his home. Cops believe that he may be in Jaipur, and have formed a team to find and arrest him.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that whoever is responsible for the accident will be punished.

"The causes of the incident are being investigated and whoever is responsible for this negligence will not be spared," Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a post on social media platform X.