Hospital fire kills at least 20 – in Bhubaneswar, India

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(BBC) At least 20 people have been killed in a fire at a hospital in eastern India.

The fire began in the intensive care unit of the private SUM hospital in the city of Bhubaneswar in Odisha state and spread to other areas, officials say.

An electrical short circuit is believed to be the cause. Most of the victims reportedly died from smoke inhalation.

A patient is being shifted as rescue work is in progress after a fire broke out in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of SUM hospital in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India, 17 October 2016.

An electrical short circuit is believed to be the cause of the fire (European Photopress Agency)

Dozens of patients were taken to other medical facilities in the city. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “anguished” by the tragedy.

“The fire left 20 people dead and more than 100 people injured. They have been admitted to various hospitals in Bhubaneswar and the medical college in Cuttack,” the state’s health secretary, Arati Ahuja, told the BBC.

People gather outside Sum Hospital in Bhubaneswar, India. Photo: 17 October 2016

“The tragedy is mind-numbing,” PM Narendra Modi said on Twitter (AP photo)

Many of the injured are in a critical condition. Earlier reports had put the death toll at 23.

“Deeply anguished by the loss of lives in the hospital fire in Odisha. The tragedy is mind-numbing. My thoughts are with bereaved families,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

In 2011, 89 people died in a fire that broke out in a hospital in the eastern city of Kolkata.

Firefighters try to douse a fire that broke out in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of SUM hospital in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India, 17 October 2016.

Local television showed images of firefighters smashing glass panes to enter the building (European Photopress Agency)

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