Day after: ‘Killer’ Kolkata hospital turns into ghost houseDecember 10th, 2011 - 1:47 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Dec 10 (IANS) A day after India saw its worst hospital fire, the AMRI Hospital Annexe 1 building Saturday stood like a ghost building with pieces of glasspanes and stone slaps strewn all around, soot and blood stained floors, the smell of death and smoke still in the air and fire brigade personnel on guard — a grim reminder of the holocaust.
The two other blocks, which usually bustle with patients, doctors, and their relatives and were untouched by the deadly fire, sported a deserted look with most of those admitted having been shifted elsewhere by their family members.
The devastating fire that broke out early Friday in the well-known hospital in South Kolkata’s middle class Dhakuria neighbourhood killed 90 and injured over 50. The injured, many of them battling for life, were moved to other city hospitals.
Meanwhile, of the 87 bodies that were taken to the morgue of the state-run SSKM hospital, about six km from the hospital, 85 have been identified and will be handed over to their grief-stricken relatives.
The body of 65-year old Bangladesh resident Gouranga Mandal, who was in the ICU of the block, was to be flown home Saturday afternoon. “We have been paid the plane fare and Rs.10,000. The West Bengal government has also taken care to embalm my grandfather’s body,” Mandal’s grandson Rakkhit Roy told IANS on phone from the NSC Bose International Airport.
The state government has already sealed and cancelled the licence of the Annexe 1 block of the hospital - co-founded by the private Emami & Shrachi Groups along with the West Bengal government in 1996.
Seven of the hospital directors, including Shrachi Group chairman S.K. Todi and his counterpart in the Emami Group R.S. Goenka, arrested on non-bailable offences including attempt to commit culpable homicide and negligence causing a fire, will be produced in the Alipore Court Saturday.
One of the seven directors, R.S. Agarwal got himself admitted at a private hospital Friday evening and has been kept under arrest there.
The forensic experts are slated to visit the spot of the tragedy later in the day to collect samples to determine the cause of the fire, amidst allegation that the basement where the flames originated was stacked with excessively combustible materials. The hospital, has, however denied the charge.
The pre-dawn fire broke out at 3.30 a.m. Friday in the Advanced Medicare and Research Institute(AMRI), catching many in their sleep. While most nurses, doctors and other staffers were able to get away, many critically ill patients suffocated to death in their hospital beds.
The tragedy unfolded over many hours. Some were suffocated, some were too infirm to escape the toxic fumes. The lucky few were brought down the side of the four-storey glass facade building using ropes and ladders, even as thousands watched in horror.
The fire brigade, many alleged, came over two hours late. The fire brigade blamed it on narrow lanes leading to the hospital.
- Kolkata hospital blaze kills 90, India mourns - Dec 10, 2011
- Hospital fire: Kolkatans protest, Mamata orders judicial probe - Dec 11, 2011
- Bengal government comes down hard on 'callous' hospital - Dec 09, 2011
- AMRI directors grilled, toll now 93 (Roundup) - Dec 12, 2011
- Staff flee, leave patients unattended after fire - Dec 09, 2011
- Tiny lane delayed fire fighting operation - Dec 10, 2011
- Two more AMRI hospital directors get bail - Mar 28, 2012
- We want state-run hospital in place of AMRI, say locals - Dec 19, 2011
- Mamata vents ire on corporates, media - Feb 28, 2012
- AMRI authorities plan to reopen fire-hit hospital - Apr 21, 2012
- AMRI director gets bail, Bengal to move apex court (Second Lead) - Feb 17, 2012
- One AMRI director gets bail, others denied (Lead) - Feb 17, 2012
- Toll now 91, including two nurses, says AMRI - Dec 10, 2011
- Two more arrested in AMRI fire case - Dec 13, 2011
- Charge sheet filed against 16 for Kolkata hospital fire - Mar 01, 2012
Tags: air and fire, city hospitals, culpable homicide, deadly fire, emami group, fire brigade, ghost building, gouranga, grim reminder, group chairman, hospital directors, mandal, morgue, nsc, plane fare, r s agarwal, stained floors, stricken relatives, todi, west bengal government