The fire broke out in the Neonatal Care Unit (SNCU) at a local hospital in Bhandara District, Maharashtra state, Doordarshan said in a tweet on his verified Twitter account. The firefighters rescued seven other children from the unit.
“Investigations are underway,” Top said, adding that 6,813 dollars (5,000 Indian rupees) would be paid in compensation to each of the affected families. The state will also pay for the funeral and counseling costs.
“Not everyone who is guilty of this will be extradited,” said Top. “It must be ensured that this kind of accident does not happen from now on.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi mourned the accident on Saturday morning. “A heartbreaking tragedy in Bandara, Maharashtra state, where we lost precious young lives. My thoughts are with all the bereaved families. I hope that the injured recover as soon as possible,” he wrote on Twitter.
The office of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind also tweeted in Hindi, “I am deeply saddened by the sudden death of infants in a fire accident in Bhandara, Maharashtra state. My heartfelt condolences to the families who lost their children in this tragic event.”
Interior Minister Amit Shah said in a tweet that he was “deeply pained” by an “irreparable loss.”
The country’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Harsh Vardan, said he was in contact with Top about the incident.