Dec 9, 2011

89 died in Indian Hospital fire

At least 89 killed so far in the massive fire at AMRI private hospital in Kolkata, at West Bengal of India. 

Nearly, 160 patients were admitted in the Hopital, The Times Of India said quoting hospital sources. 

Additional director general, Fire Services, D Biswas was quoted as saying that patients who died were admitted in the critical care and orthopaedic units and were unable to move. 

The private nursing home said a "sudden fire was detected in the basement" of an annex around 3:30am.

Among the dead, there are 70 patients and three staff of the multi-storeyed private hospital which turned into a towering inferno in the early morning. The bodies of the other victims are being identified.

The fire spread fast from the basement of the hospital, engulfing one ward after the other and trapping hundreds of people. While many patients died of burns, several others died due to suffocation.

Kolkata police said 60 patients were rescued and shifted to other parts of the same hospital and some were transferred to other city hospitals.

The annex where the fire started was used for storing cylinders of chemical gases and other medical equipment.

Police said the West Bengal government has cancelled the hospital's license following the incident. Police also said government forensic and disaster response teams arrived at the site Friday afternoon to check for any radioactive leakages or evidence of sabotage.

A director of the West Bengal government's fire department said that by Friday afternoon the rescue operation was over. He said the fire brigade was dispatched to the site after receiving a call from the hospital at 4am .

He said aerial ladders were used to pull out the patients through windows. He denied Indian media reports that firefighters arrived at the site two hours later.

Many victims' relatives were shown Friday on Indian news channels blaming the hospital for being unhelpful and negligent.

Meanwhile, the Times of India said fire department lodged an FIR against the hospital authorities, saying that they did not have the adequate fire-preventive mechanism and emergency evacuation system in place.

Hundreds of family members of patients, aggrieved that no list of the dead and injured was provided, smashed glass panes at the reception and threw away hospital registers

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters on the spot the licence of the hospital had been cancelled. Hospital authorities have declared to give Rs 500,000 to each of the deceased people's family. 


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