The fire at Kolkata's AMRI hospital, which has claimed 93 lives, became deadly due the combustible substances stacked in the building's basement, a West Bengal minister said on Tuesday.
"Because of the combustible substances including plastic pipes stored in the basement, the fire spread quickly making it deadly. The hospital's fire fighting equipment was also not up to the mark," fire services and disaster management minister Javed Khan told IANS.
A preliminary report on the Dec 9 fire at the Advanced Medicare & Research Institute (AMRI) hospital located in south Kolkata's Dhakuria was submitted earlier in the day by director general of fire DP Tarania, Khan said, but refused to comment on the cause of the fire.
"We are awaiting the forensic team's findings and can comment only after that about the reason(s) of the fire," he said.
The minister also said that several hospitals and nursing homes in the city have been issued advisories by the fire department to upgrade their fire fighting facilities.
"The five member fire department panel continued surveying the commercial buildings in the city and found several hospitals including the Woodlands Nursing Home and the Fortis Hospital having inadequate fire safety measures.
"We have issued advisories to them ordering upgradation of facilities within a stipulated period of time," said Khan.
He also said the disaster management department has already initiated the process for paying out the compensation to the victim's families as per the directions of chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
Banerjee had earlier announced a compensation of Rs 300,000 to the kin of those killed in the tragedy.
Following the tragedy, the state administration has been on an overdrive constituting panels to not only investigate the matter but also to ensure fire safety norms are observed in the state.