Just two days before the launch of the Delhi government’s emergency medical response scheme, two of 55 new ambulances parked at a Delhi hospital caught fire on Friday afternoon. The cause of the fire was not known.
The two gutted ambulances, worth more than R20 lakh, were part of the 110 new ambulances bought by the Delhi government to add to the existing fleet of 155 Centralised Accident & Trauma Services (CATS) ambulances.
“From what I have been told, one of the ambulances parked at IHBAS (Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences) in Dilshad Garden caught fire even though the ignition was not on. The fire spread to a second ambulance parked nearby before it could be moved,” said a Delhi government official.
A team from Tata motors and Bafna group has been sent to the site to determine the cause of the fire. “As the ignition was not on, the fire could not have been caused due to a short circuit. The team has to inspect whether the fire started from within the vehicle or from outside,” the official said
He said nothing could be ruled out and that it could be a possible attempt to sabotage the new scheme.
The ambulances were made using fire-resistant material and had been tested by the Automotive Research Institute of India (ARAI) . “Even though they were made of fire-resistant material, the ambulances burnt down. This means their resistance limit had crossed. We need to see what the trigger was,” the official said.
The Delhi government had signed a Memoradum of Understanding for procuring 110 ambulances, 10 with advanced life support systems and 100 with basic life support systems, in September 2015 for its ‘home to hospital care’ scheme, an emergency medical response service.
These ambulances will be equipped with self-collapsible trolley stretcher, spine board, scoop stretcher, automated external defibrillator (AED), oxygen delivery system to handle medical emergencies. They will also have transport ventilator and defibrillator cum monitor, syringe pump and lifesaving injectables.