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Rescuers in protective suits carry the body of a victim from Hotel Swarna Palace where a fire broke out early morning in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh state, India, Aug. 9, 2020.

The Canadian Press

At least 10 people died when a huge fire broke out at a COVID-19 treatment and quarantine centre in the southeastern Indian city of Vijaywada early on Sunday, officials said.

Emergency crews rescued up to 20 patients and medical staff from the centre housed in a hotel and took them to hospital, police commissioner B Srinivasulu told journalists at the scene.

Initial reports suggest the fire was caused by a short circuit in the centre, police and fire officials said.

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Television footage showed rescuers wearing face masks and full body suits taking survivors out of the blackened building on trolleys.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter he felt “anguished” and had discussed the situation with the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Reddy said the state would pay each of the victim’s families 5 million rupees ($66,656.00).

“Several people who were trapped and injured have been rescued and moved to a government hospital,” said Lakshmi, a constable at the police control room.

Last week, eight COVID-19 patients died in a fire that broke out in the intensive care ward of a private hospital in India’s western city of Ahmedabad.

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