At least 22 patients were killed and over 20 others injured in a fire that broke out at the Sum Hospital in Bhubaneswar on Monday evening, in one of the worst such incidents involving a medical facility in Odisha.
While 14 patients were received ‘brought dead’ at the Capital Hospital, eight were ‘brought dead’ to AMRI Hospital from the fire-struck private medical facility, officials said.
The Capital Hospital superintendent Dr Binod Kumar Mishra said, “We have received 14 dead bodies, while five other patients have been shifted from Sum Hospital.”
Meanwhile, AMRI Hospital (Bhubaneswar) unit head Dr Salil Kumar Mohanty said, “A total of 37 patients were received at our casualty ward. Our doctors have declared eight persons as brought dead.”
“Most of the victims were in the first floor ICU of the ill-fated Sum Hospital,” a doctor at the Capital Hospital said.
Voicing “serious” concern over the fire incident at the Sum Hospital, chief minister Naveen Patnaik described the mishap as “very tragic”.
He directed the government hospitals to provide necessary treatment to patients shifted from Sum Hospital and requested all private hospitals to extend treatment to the patients from ill-fated medical facility.
The blaze was suspected to have been triggered by an electric short circuit in the dialysis ward on the first floor of the private hospital which spread to the nearby Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
The fire rapidly spread to other areas on the same floor of the four-storeyed hospital building.
The commissionerate of police and fire brigade personnel along with volunteers and hospital staff launched a massive rescue operation as more than 500 indoor patients were trapped in the building, hospital officials said.
At least seven fire tenders were pressed into service to control the blaze and over a dozen ambulances deployed to shift the critical patients to other hospitals.
Many patients were rescued by breaking window panes, an eyewitness said.
Meanwhile, the state government has ordered a high-level probe by the Director, Medical Education and Training, into the incident.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi voiced “deep anguish” at the loss of lives in a massive blaze at a hospital in Bhubaneshwar, calling it “mind-numbing”.
“Deeply anguished by the loss of lives in the hospital fire in Odisha. The tragedy is mind-numbing. My thoughts are with bereaved families,” Modi said on microblogging website Twitter.
“Spoke to Minister @JPNadda (Health Minister) & asked him to facilitate transfer of all those injured to AIIMS. Hope the injured recover quickly.
Deeply anguished by the loss of lives in the hospital fire in Odisha. The tragedy is mind-numbing. My thoughts are with bereaved families.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 17, 2016
“Also spoken to Minister @dpradhanbjp and asked him to ensure all possible help to the injured and affected,” he said in a series of tweets.
Spoke to CM @Naveen_Odisha about the distressing hospital fire tragedy. Assured all possible support from the Centre.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 17, 2016
In 2011, a major blaze had engulfed AMRI Hospital in Kolkata, killing 89 people, including 85 patients.