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Friday, June 25, 2021

Bharuch Hospital fire that killed 18: Senior fire official suspended pending inquiry, says Govt to HC

Patel Welfare Hospital had submitted that the district authorities were well aware that its Covid facility was functioning from the new building, contrary to the authorities’ claim.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
Updated: June 1, 2021 1:14:21 am
At least sixteen Covid-19 patients and two nurses were killed after a fire broke out at the ICU of The Welfare Hospital in Bharuch district on Saturday. (Express photo by Bhupendra Rana)

The Bharuch municipality has suspended the “incharge head fireman of Bharuch nagarpalika, pending inquiry against him” in a fire incident at a hospital that killed 18 on May 1, the state government submitted in an affidavit before the Gujarat High Court.

The affidavit was filed on May 30 by RH Vasava, joint secretary with the urban development and urban housing department of the state government.

It stated that the office of the commissioner of health, medical services and medical education issued a notice dated May 10 to the chief district medical officer of Bharuch, seeking records of visit to Patel Welfare Hospital before designating it as a dedicated Covid-hospital, as well as the inspection records, including those of fire safety NOC.

It further submitted that by a letter dated May 13, the Bharuch municipality had suspended the incharge head fireman of Bharuch municipality.

Vasava, in an affidavit dated May 10, had submitted that “as the number of Covid cases were rising exponentially in the second wave, the hospital appears to have started using the ground floor of the new building near the old building as Covid facility without any intimation to the Bharuch nagarpalika… local fire service was not at all aware…”.

The new building did not have a fire NOC while the old building of the hospital had a valid fire NOC.

Patel Welfare Hospital had submitted that the district authorities were well aware that its Covid facility was functioning from the new building, contrary to the authorities’ claim.

In an affidavit dated May 27, the hospital’s administrator Ajaz Patel submitted that while initially the Covid hospital was set up in the basement of the old building, by permission through communication dated November 13, 2020, the facility was transferred to the new building.

The affidavit also submitted that “mother of leading fire officer was also admitted and treated for Covid in the new building”.

It added that on April 30, leading fire officer of Bharuch municipality, Shailesh Sasiya, had informed the hospital that two fire officers were at the hospital for Covid survey and that they would take some pictures/videos. However, the administrator had “instructed them (fire officers) to not enter the designated Covid facility/premises. The said two officers have taken some photos/vide from the old building…”, it said.

It also reiterated that after the local authorities flagged to install fire safety systems at its new building in December 2020, the hospital started the procedure for the same but the vendor declined to work as Covid-19 patients were admitted at the facility.

Patel in his affidavit also submitted that that the Bombay Welfare Trust, which runs the hospital, has provided financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of two nurses, Rs 1 lakh to a nursing student who sustained burns, Rs 2 lakh to the kin of each of the 16 deceased patients as well as waiver of all charges for any healthcare service they choose to seek for the next five years.

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