Fireman told of AMRI breakout after two hours
The fire services department was informed about the blaze in south Kolkata’s Advanced Medicare Research Institute (AMRI) in Dhakuria nearly two hours after it broke out on Friday morning, police investigators said.Updated: Dec 13, 2011 00:46 IST
The fire services department was informed about the blaze in south Kolkata’s Advanced Medicare Research Institute (AMRI) in Dhakuria nearly two hours after it broke out on Friday morning, police investigators said.
The fire is believed to have started in the basement at 1.30am. But according to official records, the fire department got the first alert at 4.10am. By then the fire and smoke had engulfed the building. Ninety-three were killed in the inferno.
The police probe team that visited the hospital premises on Monday said hospital employees who spotted the fire immediately informed AMRI authorities about it.
“The AMRI staff told us that they informed one of the six hospital directors who are in police custody,” joint commissioner of police Damayanti Sen said. “We are interrogating them, but they are obviously concealing the truth.” Meanwhile, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee lamented the lack of fire fighting infrastructure and stressed on the immediate need to modernise such facilities.
“The fire fighting infrastructure is not up to the mark. Many fire engines are gathering dust because of poor maintenance. There is no space for keeping ladders,” Banerjee said at the state secretariat on Monday after a meeting with officials.
"We need to acquire modern and sophisticated machines to counter fire disasters. Disaster management system needs to be revamped,” she emphasised.
She said lack of funds has been hindering upgradation of fire fighting facilities.
“We came to power only after the budget was presented by the former (Left Front) government. We cannot do anything on that front. We have to manage with whatever fund was allotted in the budget for the fire department,” said Banerjee.
AMRI closes psychiatric unit
Seva Sadan, the psychiatry unit of Kolkata’s AMRI hospital, located about 2 km from the ill-fated Dhakuria unit, was shut down on Monday.
According to AMRI officials, administrative officials from the Dhakuria AMRI used to manage and monitor day-to-day activities of this unit. Ironically, its licence is not withdrawn like the Dhakuria unit, claims AMRI officials.
“It’s impossible to run this unit for the management, considering the trauma and stress we are undergoing. The unit also caters to the weaker section of the society and officials felt it to be impossible to run a service with elements of subsidy after a loss,” said an AMRI representative. HTC
First Published: Dec 13, 2011 00:32 IST