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Delhi: Tragedy averted after blaze in Preet Vihar hospital; patients, doctors rescued

The fire started in an air conditioning vent of the Metro Hospital and Cancer Institute in East Delhi’s Preet Vihar.

delhi Updated: Dec 23, 2017 21:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Preet Vihar hospital,Preet Vihar Hospital fire,Metro Hospital
Firemen rescuing patients at the Metro Hospital and Cancer Institute in east Delhi’s Preet Vihar. (HT Photo)

A major tragedy was averted by multiple government agencies that joined hands to rescue dozens of patients, their relatives, doctors and other staffers from a private hospital in east Delhi that caught fire on Saturday evening.

None of the patients or hospital staffers were injured in the blaze even though the rescue operation left a fireman with deep cuts in his arm and a police constable with injuries, said the fire department. The two are out of danger.

The fire broke out around 3.15pm on the second floor of the Metro Hospital and Cancer Institute, located along Vikas Marg in Preet Vihar.

The blaze forced the authorities to move 84 patients from the affected hospital in Delhi to their other centre in Noida Sector 11, said Omvir Singh, DCP (east).

Many of these patients and other staffers were evacuated through “specialised rescue operations” carried out by the police, the fire department and the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), the DCP said.

Singh said that the call about the blaze was made by a policeman deployed at the Preet Vihar police station located adjacent to the hospital. The policeman saw flames and smoke coming from the second floor of the hospital and alerted the fire department.

Before the fire fighters could reach the spot, staff from the police station began the rescue operation. “The policemen first began moving out the patients who were on oxygen supply. They first focused on the second floor’s critical patients who couldn’t have helped themselves. Soon, we removed all non-critical patients from the hospital even from the other floors,” said the DCP.

The Metro Hospital and Cancer Institute in east Delhi's Preet Vihar.

Soon, more than two dozen fire tenders and at least 30 ambulances of the hospital as well as CATS arrived at the spot. “Many staffers rushed to the terrace as the smoke spread. We used hydraulic lifts and ladders to rescue them. While many patients either saved themselves or were helped out by hospital staff, 26 needed our specialised help,” Atul Garg, chief fire officer of Delhi Fire Services, told HT.

Police said that panic spread because of the blaze, but the situation was controlled as the area deputy commissioner of police as well as the deputy commissioner of the region took position to supervise the rescue operations.

The blaze also resulted in jams on Vikas Marg and traffic policemen had to be deployed on the busy road to manage the chaos. The fire was controlled by 4.50pm and cooling operations were initiated after that.

The trigger for the blaze is yet to be probed, but police said prima facie it appeared to be from an air-conditioning vent. The DCP said that while the hospital authorities have claimed that essential fire safety measures were in place, the claim would be investigated. Hospital authorities could not be reached for comment.

Gutted remains of the Metro Hospital and Cancer Institute .

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First Published: Dec 23, 2017 17:58 IST