NEW DELHI, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- At least 23 people have been killed and several others injured in a major fire that broke out in an upscale private hospital in the eastern Indian state of Odisha's capital Bhubaneswar Monday night, a senior police official said.
"The fire began around 8:00 p.m. (local time) at the intensive care unit of the Institute of Medical Sciences and Sum Hospital and quickly spread to the dialysis and medicine wards. Most of the victims died of asphyxiation while the injured have been admitted to other hospitals," he said.
As many as 10 fire tenders were pressed into service and it took nearly two hours to bring the inferno under control, the official said, adding all patients have been evacuated from the hospital.
Local TV channels reported, quoting a senior fire official, that an electrical short circuit in the intensive care unit may have caused the blaze, and showed footage of white smoke billowing out of the hospital building.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the fire. "Deeply anguished by the loss of lives in the hospital fire in Odisha. The tragedy is mind-numbing. My thoughts are with bereaved families," he tweeted.
A probe has been ordered into the incident, the police official said, adding that no one will be spared if found to be guilty of negligence or flouting fire safety norms.