Bhubaneswar hospital fire
- Death toll climbs to 22
Bhubaneswar: In one of the worst hospital tragedies in the country, at least 22 people died and 150 were injured in a blaze at SUM Hospital in Bhubaneswar on Monday. The fire, started at around 7-30 pm at the dialysis ward, spread and raged through emergency and ICU sections. It took more than two hours for fire-fighting units to bring the fire under control. With details of the horror unfolding, the death toll has steadily climbed up. Most of the deaths were apparently caused by smoke. Patients on oxygen support were the first victims.
The injured had been sent to various hospitals, both private and government, in Odisha’s capital city. The Capital Hospital said 14 patients were “brought dead” and AMRI Hospital reported eight such cases. However, the condition of majority of patients admitted to hospitals in Bhubaneswar and nearby Cuttack was stated to be stable, although one patient succumbed to burns at AIIMS in Bhubaneswar. Meanwhile, it has been reported that more than 100 patients have been receiving treatment in nine hospitals.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik visited AIIMS and AMRI Hospital and ordered an inquiry into the tragedy. It is suspected that short-circuit in the dialysis unit might have triggered the fire. Local press reports have indicated that some precious time had been lost in efforts to douse the fire with fire extinguishers by the hospital staff. Only when their attempts had failed, they called the firefighters. By the time they arrived on the scene, flames had travelled through AC ducts and false ceiling, engulfing all the hospital floors in smoke that impeded rescue operations.