Seventeen babies were admitted at the Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) of the four-storeyed hospital in Maharashtra's Bhandara district.

At least 10 newborn babies were suffocated to death when a major fire broke out in the Children’s Ward of the Bhandara District Civil Hospital at around 2 pm on Saturday.

Seventeen babies were admitted at the Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) of the four-storeyed hospital in Maharashtra’s Bhandara district, about 900 km from the state capital Mumbai, at the time of the incident, ND TV reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths and called the incident a “heart-wrenching tragedy”.

In a tweet, PM Modi wrote, “Heart-wrenching tragedy in Bhandara, Maharashtra, where we have lost precious young lives. My thoughts are with all the bereaved families. I hope the injured recover as early as possible (sic)”.

Taking a strong note of the shocking incident, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray ordered an investigation into the cause of the fire.

The chief minister also discussed the matter with health minister Rajesh Tope and district authorities and said stringent punishment must be given to those found responsible.

The fire was noticed around 2 am in the Sick Newborn Care Unit of the Hospital, leading to a huge panic.

While 10 infants perished in the thick smoke, another 6 were rescued safely.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.  The Bhandara police are probing the incident.

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