Uttar Pradesh govt seeks report on six deaths, but hospital claims all were not victims

Lucknow divisional commissioner says overheating of a fridge kept running 24 hours in a ward could be possible cause

By: Express News Service | Lucknow | Published:July 17, 2017 1:47 am
DG Fire Service Praveen Singh said a fire services team as well as forensic and electrical experts are conducting an investigation and they will be able to comment on the cause of fire on Monday.

The state government on Sunday sought a report from the Lucknow district administration and King George’s Medical University (KGMU) on the deaths of six persons who allegedly lost their lives during or after evacuation from the hospital’s trauma centre, where a fire broke out at around 7 pm on Saturday. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who on Sunday visited the patients who had survived, announced financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of each deceased and also directed the director general (fire service) to review fire safety of all important hospitals, offices, government buildings and multi-storied buildings.

However, KGMU Vice-Chancellor Prof MLB Bhatt called the reports of 6 patients having died due to the fire “misleading”. He further claimed that the deaths of two children, who were reported as victims, had occurred before the fire started, and the three deaths reported from Gandhi Ward were of patients who were “seriously ill” and could not be saved “despite the best efforts of doctors”. Associate Professor, KGMU, Ved Prakash too said, “Six deaths have been reported, but it cannot be said that they occurred because of evacuation from the trauma centre. An inquiry is on,” adding that around 15-20 deaths occur at the trauma centre every day.

Lucknow Divisional Commissioner Anil Garg, who is conducting an inquiry into the fire, said the overheating of a fridge in the disaster ward, which was kept running 24 hours, was suspected as a possible cause of the fire.

He further said that firefighting measures were “not active” at the facility as the alarms did not work, adding that he had sought a report from the fire service department on 10-15 points about existing firefighting measures available at the hospital against standard facilities required, and the possible causes.

Garg said the fire services department had also been asked to confirm if it had granted the hospital a no-objection certificate or whether it had conducted any inspection there. He added that deaths of six patients had been reported to him and he has sought reports from the KGMU administration as well as Lucknow district magistrate and SSP on the same by Sunday evening. He had inspected the fire site alongwith Lucknow Zone IG Jai Narain Singh.

DG Fire Service Praveen Singh said a fire services team as well as forensic and electrical experts are conducting an investigation and they will be able to comment on the cause of fire on Monday. Prof Bhatt said that the smoke had spread to all floors of the trauma centre through the central air conditioning system, adding that emergency services were resumed at around 11 pm on Saturday after the fire was doused and patients were shifted to other hospitals.

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