Many of those who survived the fire at Shrey Hospital on Thursday that claimed eight lives are still traumatised. There were 49 patients in the 50-bed hospital at the time, eight of them in the ICU, located on the fourth floor, which was completely charred. Forty-one Covid-19 patients, including 27 men and 15 women, and one paramedic staff of the hospital who sustained injuries in the fire were shifted to SVP hospital after the incident.
Bhavin Shah (45), who was admitted on the fourth floor in a non ICU room, said the screams of the burning victims still haunt him.
“I could not sleep so I was awake and watching a series on my mobile phone in my room No. 411 which I shared with my brother-in-law and nephew, while my sister was in the adjacent room. That is when I heard loud screams from the ICU ward,” Shah told The Indian Express.
Room number 411 shares its wall with the ICU ward where the fire broke out. “Our room is right opposite the ICU from where we could see everything. Also, since the door of our room wasn’t closed, I could clearly hear the screams,” he added.
“When I went outside, I saw a hospital staff in PPE suit on fire and running from the ICU. I ran towards my toilet to get water in the bucket but by the time I came out, the person was gone. By this time, it was all smoke in the ICU,” he said.
Shah and his brother-in-law Paresh B Shah (52), both residents of Paldi, were admitted to Shrey hospital on July 30, while his sister Nilam (50) and nephew Kunjan P Shah (25) got admitted on August 1.
Rajendrakumar Adesara, 58, who was in the hospital with his mother for Covid-19 treatment, said a fellow 50-year-old patient was so traumatised by the fire incident that she shudders at the sound of an ambulance now. “The woman is so traumatised by the fire incident and the screams of hospital staff and patients that she shudders every time she hears some loud noise like an ambulance siren,” Adesara said.
Shah said when he saw the fire in the ICU ward, he was the one to make a call to the fire station.
“At first, I closed the door of my room so that the smoke does not enter our room but soon I realised if we stay inside our room and the fire spreads then we will have no other option but to jump from the fourth floor. So we all ran downstairs and took blankets with us,” said Paresh.
“The traumatic experience of this incident will forever remain with us, but I am not being able to forget one particular image of a man engulfed in flames, screaming and running for life,” Bhavin said.
Adesara’s 80-year-old mother Hasumatiben Keshavlal Soni, who was admitted in ward number 413, was among the total six patients in the non ICU ward on the fourth floor.
“We were deep asleep when suddenly I heard someone shouting from outside the ward. I woke up and went outside where I saw a man wearing a PPE kit engulfed in flames and running. I immediately returned to my mother to wake her up,” Adesara said.
He brought his mother towards the stairs and tried to climb down, “In this course, my mother fell on the stairs and fractured her left arm which is now plastered. We did not use the lift,” he added.
Khyati Solanki (44), resident of Navrangpura who was admitted at Shrey hospital for last four days, was on the first floor with nearly 15 other patients.
“One of the female nursing staff told me that there is a fire in the ICU. I woke another 70-year-old patient and we ran out,” said Solanki from SVP hospital.
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