Hospital blaze exposes missing safety norms

Hospital blaze exposes missing safety norms

GTB Hospital was red-flagged by Fire dept,MS says NOC not renewed for several years.

A suspected short-circuit in the air-conditioning plant of Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital — whose fire clearance is currently on hold — led to a blaze outside the general ward on the sixth floor of the hospital on Wednesday.

Fire officials said the fire started at 11 am and spread to the corridor outside the general ward. No one was injured in the incident and all patients in the general ward were evacuated.

“Some furniture and old oxygen cylinders were kept in the area. The furniture was damaged in the fire,” a hospital official said.

Six fire tenders took nearly 45 minutes to douse the flames.


“Patients and their relatives started running out. A ward boy got the fire extinguishers,but they did not work. There was smoke all over and it was very suffocating,” a Fire department official said.

Medical Superintendent Dr Rajpal said the no-objection certificate from the Fire department had not been renewed for “several years” because two out of six requirements have not been met. Dr Rajpal said work is on to set up fire alarm and sprinkler systems.

“Since I took over as the MS around a year and half ago,we have issued tenders for both these systems. Since 50 to 60 per cent of fire alarms were not working,we decided to replace them. This will take another month or so. The sprinkler system is a new requirement introduced by the Fire department,which will take us another few months to implement,” Dr Rajpal said.

“We have requirements such as fire signages,fire check or exit doors in place. Our ward boys and other staff used the fire extinguishers to douse the fire and control the situation (today),” Dr Rajpal said.

Health Minister A K Walia said a committee had been set up to report the exact cause of the fire by Thursday. “There appears to be some confusion about the cause of fire. We have sought a detailed report from the hospital,” he said.

Fire alert

The Fire department has pointed out inadequacies in fire fighting systems in several hospitals,including cardiovascular and neurosciences centre of AIIMS,new trauma centre at RML Hospital,dental department of MAMC,new orthopaedic block of LN Hospital and trauma centre at DDU Hospital.