10 patients have died and another 20 suffered burns after a major fire erupted at Swarna palace, a hotel turned coronavirus COVID-19 facility, in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada city on Sunday (August 9) morning.

Sources say that short circuit may be the reason behind fire but it is not confirmed yet. It is learnt that around 30 COVID-19 patients were present inside the building when the fire broke out. Sources said that the COVID-19 patients in the hotel were shifted to other hospital.

The fire broke out at around 5 a.m. on the ground and first floors of the Hotel Swarna Palace, which had been leased by Ramesh Hospitals as a COVID care centre. There are about 40 rooms in the hotel, and patients were undergoing treatment in 30 of them.

Vijayawada Commissioner of Police Srinivasulu has reached the spot and is monitoring the rescue operations. Four fire tenders are currently at the spot to douse the fire. Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is closely monitoring the situation. Andhra Pradesh government has announced to to give ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh each to every deceased family.

A criminal case under Sections 304 (2) and 308 of Indian Penal Code has been registered against the managements of Hotel Swarna Palace and Ramesh Hospitals. The State government set up two committees to conduct a detailed probe into the exact cause of the fire and other lapses that led to the tragedy.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy announced an ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh to the kin of the deceased, who were killed after fire broke out at a corona virus facility in Vijayawada.

The Prime Minister’s Office has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh from PMNRF for the victims’ families. “Ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the fire at a Covid centre in Vijayawada. Rs. 50,000 each would be given to those injured due to the fire,” the PMO tweeted.

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