Four children among 27 dead in India amusement park fire

GUJRAT: Four young children were among 27 people killed when a fire in India ripped through a crowded amusement park, a top local official said Sunday, as rescuers scoured the site the morning after the blaze.

Survivors reported having to kick down doors and leap out of windows to escape the inferno that swept through a centre packed full of young people enjoying games including bowling, Indian media reported on Sunday.

Lines of bodies draped in white cloths were laid out before being taken away from the centre in Rajkot, a city in the western state of Gujarat.

The four children reported dead were all aged under 12, said police, who warned that many of the corpses were so badly burned it was difficult to identify them.

Outside the still-smouldering wreckage, the mother and sister of 20-year-old Asha Kathad — who had worked in the centre — waited for news.

They held up a photograph of Asha on a mobile phone.

“We don’t have any information about her,” Asha’s mother told local reporters, too distraught to give her full name as she wept.

More than 300 people were enjoying the summer holiday weekend in the two-storey structure at the TRP amusement and theme park when the blaze broke out on Saturday evening, Rajkot fire officer Ilesh Kher told reporters on the night of the fire.

“People got trapped as a temporary structure at the facility collapsed near the entrance, making it difficult for the people to come out,” he said.

The flames spread rapidly because of the structure’s flammable material, he added.

‘Six newborns killed in fire at India baby hospital’

Six newborn babies have died after a fire tore through a children’s hospital in the Indian capital, with people charging into the blaze to rescue the infants, police said Sunday.

“All the 12 newborn babies were rescued from the hospital with the help of other people,” senior police officer Surendra Choudhary said in a statement, but adding that when they reached medical attention, six were dead.

“Legal action is being taken against the owner of the hospital,” Choudhary said.

He did not give further details on how the children died.

In addition to the six who died, another baby among the 12 brought out of the suffocating fumes was dead before the fire began, Choudhary said, without elaborating further.

The fire broke out late Saturday in the New Born Baby Care hospital in Delhi’s Vivek Vihar area.

Delhi Fire Department Director Atul Garg said 14 fire trucks were sent to battle the blaze, he told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.

“The fire spread too fast due to a blast in an oxygen cylinder,” he told PTI.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called the situation “heartbreaking”.

“We all stand with those who lost their innocent children in this accident,” he said on social media.

“The causes of the incident are being investigated, and whoever is responsible for this negligence will not be spared.”

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