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Fire in 2 more hospitals,narrow escape for patients this time

Fires at two medical institutions in the state today triggered panic among patients and relatives,bringing back memories of the recent AMRI hospital tragedy.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: March 22, 2012 4:14 am

Fires at two medical institutions in the state today triggered panic among patients and relatives,bringing back memories of the recent AMRI hospital tragedy.

Fire at the emergency ward of the endocrinology department of SSKM Hospital broke out at 9 am today. As hospital staff members noticed smoke coming out of the ward,the fire department was immediately alerted and patients were evacuated from the adjoining ward. Serious patients were shifted to other wards.

Three fire engines were pressed into service and the fire was doused within 30 minutes.

Prima facie it looked like the blaze had been sparked by a short circuit in air conditioners in the ward.

“The hospital staff members and fire officials worked on a war footing. The way patients were evacuated and then carried back to their wards,I must say they have achieved the near-impossible,” said the hospital superintendent.

There were around 200 patients at the OPD,which resumed functioning after two hours. Computerised registration was disrupted,so patients were given handwritten slips. The diabetic section,which was the worst affected,will take at least two days for renovation before it starts functioning.

“My brother was brought in last night. I was here since morning. Doctors and nurses asked us to quickly bring the patients out fast as soon as the smoke was detected. Many family members of patients lend a helping hand,” said Sanjay Pramanik of Diamond Harbour.

Chandrima Bhattacharya,MoS,health,ministers Firhad Hakim and Madan Mitra visited the hospital. While Chandrima lauded the alertness of the hospital workers and fire officials,Hakim said,“Thanks to the locational and constructional advantage of this place,the smoke was brought under control fast. The airy rooms also helped in letting the smoke out.”

The second incident took place at a private nursing home in Rabindranagar,Midnapore (West),at 8.40 am. A suspected short circuit started a fire in the basement of the hospital and smoke spread in the entire four-storey building through the centralised air-conditioning system. Staff members and locals helped getting more than one hundred patients out of the building and sent them to nearby hospitals and nursing homes.

A few months ago,the nursing home got an ‘ok’ certificate from the fire department,but fire fighters today said “a huge volume of cotton and other inflammable articles were stacked in the basement of the building”. Hospital authorities,however,maintained that “the basement was empty and was used as a garage”.

“Piyush Pal,MD of the hospital,and Alok Ghosh,member of the managing committee of the hospital,have been arrested,” said an official of Kotwali police station.

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