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At least 18 patients were killed in a fire that broke out at the Patel Covid hospital in Gujarat's Bharuch in the early hours of Friday.

The fire broke out in the ICU wing of the hospital due to a short circuit, said Rajendrasinh Chudasama, the superintendent of police at Bharuch. It has since been doused.

"As per information at 6.30 am, the death toll in the tragedy stood at 18. Immediately after the fire, we had confirmation of 12 deaths," a police official told news agency PTI.

According to Chudasama, the 12 patients in the Covid-19 ward died due to the fire and resultant smoke. It is not clear if the remaining six also died in the Welfare hospital or while being shifted to other hospitals.

The SP feared that casualties may go up.

Around 50 other patients undergoing treatment at the hospital were rescued by locals and firefighters. They were shifted to another facility.

The four-storeyed designated Covid-19 hospital is situated on the Bharuch-Jambusar highway and is being run by a trust.

The exact reason for the fire is not known yet, the officials said.

A few days ago, another similar incident was reported from Surat in Gujarat when 16 critical Covid-19 patients were rescued and shifted to safer places after a fire broke out in the ICU of a private hospital.

No casualty was reported then.

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