Spark in needle cutter led to fire at operation theatre: PGI probe report

A major fire broke out at OT No. 3 of the Emergency causing severe damage to one OT and affecting five others. Three surgeries were on when the fire broke out.

By: Express News Service | Chandiagarh | Published: April 17, 2018 10:05:39 am
Major fire breaks out in PGIMER Chandigarh, no casualties reported Patients being evacuated from the Emergency wing of PGIMER, Chandigarh, on Wednesday night (Express Photo/Varinder Bhatia/File)

A committee, constituted by the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) to find the reason for last week’s fire at an operation theatre, has concluded that “spark in the needle cutter in the oxygen-rich environment” led to the fire and engulfed the entire OT on April 11.

The six-member committee, headed by Professor Arvind Rajwanshi, Dean Research, PGI, submitted the report to the PGI Director on Monday. The committee, however, did not hold any member of the staff responsible for the incident.

A major fire broke out at OT No. 3 of the Emergency causing severe damage to one OT and affecting five others. Three surgeries were on when the fire broke out.

The committee in its report stated that on April 11, around 9.30 pm in OT(3), a Caesarean section was going on and after the baby was delivered, the paediatrician resuscitated the child and left with the baby and staff nurse accompanied him about 15 minutes before the incident. It said that a junior resident doctor from the Department of Anesthesia present in the OT “smelt something abnormal”.

“She (JR) saw a spark in the needle cutter kept near the paediatric resuscitator,” said the report, adding that the doctor told the committee members that in no time, the fire spread to the paediatric resuscitator trolley corner and engulfed the whole OT.

The probe report has said that the electricity wiring from the affected area to the main electrical junction box was intact which “dispelled any short circuit”.

Steps to prevent such incidents in future

The committee has made eight recommendations to the PGI administration. The important measure suggested is that since OT number 3 is a “small crowded place” with all the equipment and staff, its size has to be increased.

The report also said that a manual needle cutter should be used in the OT and other areas of the hospital and the supply of oxygen and other inflammable anaesthetic gases and fluids should be switched off when not in use.

Other suggestions included gas-based flooding system, high-pressure smoke exhaust fan, corridors and OTs be kept clear all the time from any obstruction and a passage be constructed connecting the Emergency OT with ATC from the back side of the Operation Theater complex.

The report added that a portable fire extinguisher should be installed inside the OT.

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