All of those who died in the hospital in Maharashtra state were between a few days and three months old.

Ten babies were killed early Saturday in a maternity ward in the Maharashtra state of India when a large hospital caught fire, a doctor said.

Staff rescued seven of the newborns at Bhandara District Hospital, but were pushed back before they could get to the other ten, Pramod Khandate, a senior doctor, told AFP.

All of the deceased were reportedly between a few days and three months old.

“The cause of the fire is not yet known, but our staff extinguished the fire as quickly as possible. The smoke caused the babies to choke, ”said Khandate.

The nurses on duty noticed a fire in the hospital’s neonatal unit and set off the alarm.

The fire brigade prevented the fire from spreading to other parts of the hospital and other patients were brought to safety.

“A heartbreaking tragedy in Bhandara, Maharashtra, where we lost precious young lives,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter. Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi called the deaths “extremely tragic”.

Authorities ordered an immediate investigation into the recent disaster to raise doubts about safety in Indian hospitals. More than 90 people died in an inferno at a Kolkata hospital in 2011.

Eight coronavirus patients were killed in a fire in a hospital in Ahmedabad in August. Another five COVID-19 patients died in a fire in a clinic in Rajkot in November.

The Supreme Court asked for a report on security in coronavirus hospitals because of the incidents.

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