A fire broke out at the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital in central Kolkata Wednesday morning. More than 250 patients were evacuated and no casualty has been reported. The blaze has largely been contained and the authorities are trying to ascertain the cause behind the fire. Ten fire tenders are still at the spot.
According to police sources, the fire started at the government pharmacy on the ground floor of the building around 7.30 am. Smoke was seen billowing out of the pharmacy by patients and their relatives, who ran towards the exit gate of the hospital fearing for their safety. “The smoke was seen by relatives of the patients who were present there to buy medicines. Fire officials are trying to control small fire pockets. None got hurt or trapped. While several patients were timely evacuated, some panic-stricken patients came out of the ward”, said an official.
According to sources, 57 patients who were admitted to the cardiology department on the first floor of the building were shifted to the emergency ward. “Some of these patients have undergone surgeries like angioplasty, pacemaker, implantations etc”, said a senior doctor of the hospital. While some of the patients were brought out on stretchers with their saline drips, few of them could be seen lying on the floor. The oxygen cylinders kept in the storeroom close to the pharmacy are being shifted to another department.
Some patients were also considering moving to another hospital for treatment. “I was sleeping when my brother came running and carried me on his back and brought me down on the other side of the building. When we were coming down we noticed thick smoke. It is not only fire but even smoke has been a cause of death in so many fire incidents. I want my family to shift me to another hospital even after the fire is controlled. I am a heart patient and can’t take any risk”, said Kali Prasad Rai, a patient at the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.
In Pictures | Fire at Kolkata Medical College and Hospital
Fire Minister and Mayor Sovan Chatterjee reached the spot to take stock of the situation. Senior fire officials, a team of Kolkata Police and West Bengal disaster management are also at the hospital. “The patients have been evacuated. The fire is confined to the ground floor,” Chatterjee said.
“The fire broke out in a medicine shop which had inflammable items so fire officials need time to control the blaze,” said Local TMC MLA Nayna Bandopadhyay.
Sources said the hospital authorities have initiated a probe to know the exact cause of the fire and other lapses.