Fire at two health care facilities

March 21st, 2012 - 4:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, March 21 (IANS) Dozens of patients were evacuated from a premier referral hospital here after a major fire, bringing back memories of a hospital inferno that killed 94 people.

Another fire broke out in a nursing home in West Midnapore district. No causalties were reported.

Patients in the emergency OPD of SSKM Hospital had to be evacuated following the fire, Minister of State for Health Chandrima Bhattacharya said.

“Now the fire, caused probably by an electrical short circuit in a AC machine, has been doused,” Bhattacharya said. The process of shifting the patients to other wards had begun.

Two other state ministers who visited the hospital blamed the hospital staff for running the ACs overtime, causing an overload which resulted in the fire.

“Now things are under control,” Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said.

Relatives of the patients accused the staff of non-cooperation.

“There was a big crowd inside the ward and there were hardly any stretchers inside. We carried the patients using clothes and bed sheets with the help of locals,” said a relative.

In West Midnapore, a private nursing home caught fire causing panic among patients. The patients were evacuated safely.

The nursing home fire bore an eerie resemblance to the AMRI hospital tragedy as the blaze broke out in the basement and scores of locals rushed and broke glass panes to rescue the patients.

A fireman and a few locals fell ill after consuming the soot filled smoke. However, all the patients were rescued safely, said the police.

In December 2011, 94 patients and staffers died when a blaze in the basement of Kolkata’s private multi-speciality AMRI Hospital engulfed an annexe building.

Patients, many of them too ill to move out of their bad, were trapped, and died a slow, painful death from the noxious smoke.

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