Mumbai hospital fire: Death toll touches nine
Woman, suffering from heart, brain condition, developed lung complicationUpdated: Dec 20, 2018 00:46 IST
The death toll in Monday’s fire at Andheri’s ESIC Kamgar Hospital reached nine on Wednesday, after 65-year-old Shaila Murvekar succumbed to lung complications caused by smoke inhalation. She had been a patient at the hospital where a fire broke out on Monday.
Murvekar was originally admitted to ESIC Kamgar Hospital for conditions related to the heart and brain. After being rescued from the blaze, she had been brought to SevenHills Hospital and was in critical condition.
“She (Murvekar) has had a stroke and was also diagnosed with cardiac complications. She was kept on ventilator since the time of her admission and even at ESIC Kamgar Hospital. Whatever treatment was required was given to her, but unfortunately we couldn’t salvage her life,” said Dr Lakshmi Sadhotra, vice-president of SevenHills Hospital, in Marol, Andheri.
Forensic experts from RN Cooper Municipal General Hospital, where an autopsy was conducted, said Murvekar’s death was due to lung complications along with asphyxiation, resulting from the inhalation of toxic smoke. “The patient had developed lung complications and prolonged ventilator stay also affected her health. Being a senior citizen, she failed to survive the smoke and died of asphyxiation,” said forensic experts on condition of anonymity.
More than 180 people were rescued from the fire on Monday and were admitted to seven hospitals across the city. When the fire broke out at the ESIC Kamgar Hospital, 163 of its 283 functional beds were occupied. Hospitals like Jogeshwari Trauma, Siddharth Hospital, Hiranandani Hospital and Shatabdi Hospital are treating over 40 patients, all of whom are reported to be in a stable condition.
SevenHills Hospital admitted 65 patients of whom 10 are in the intensive care unit (ICU) and two are on ventilators. “Many of the patients were moved to the hospital in serious condition from ESIC Hospital. As of Wednesday night, we have already treated and discharged 20 and rest remain to be under our care,” said Dr Sadhotra of SevenHills Hospital.
Dr Ganesh Shinde from RN Cooper Hospital said the hospital is keeping a close watch on the eight patients who remain in the medical and surgical intensive care units. “The effects of toxic smoke inhalation also surface after 24-48 hours and thus we have kept all the patients under observation. All the treatment, including the additional surgical material needed during the procedures will be provided for free including the transfer of patients, if need arises,” said Dr Ganesh Shinde, dean of RN Cooper Hospital.
Meanwhile, another fire was reported at the same premises in the evening. No casualties were reported. The fire - which reportedly broke out in the electrical box at the hospital - was first reported at 7.54pm and was extinguished by 8.34pm. “The fire was a minor one and was soon doused using sand. The blaze was possibly caused by some live wires that may have been remained active even after electric supply to both hospital buildings were cut after the fire on Monday,” said a senior official from Mumbai Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). The electricity supply to staff quarters was not affected, the official said.
Site supervisor, assistant held; two welders at large
The Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) police on Wednesday registered a first information report (FIR) against four employees of the construction company working at the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Kamgar Hospital in Andheri, including site supervisor Nilesh Mehta and his assistant Nitin Kamble. Police have placed Mehta and his assistant Nitin Kamble under arrest.
The other two accused are welders who were working at the hospital were not arrested till the time of going to press. After two days of investigation, the police have concluded that the fire that broke out at the ESIC Kamgar Hospital on Monday was caused by sparks generated from welding work.
Renovation work was being carried out by the contractor in the old wing of the hospital. The sparks turned into a blaze because there were strips of rubber lying around, which caught fire. “We have arrested Mehta and Kamble and will soon arrest the two welders. They have been booked under section 304 A (punishment for causing death by negligence), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and Maharashtra Fire Protection and Life Safety Measures Act 2006,” said Navinchandra Reddy, deputy commissioner of police of zone 10.
A police officer, on the condition of anonymity, said that the company received its tender from Delhi. “We kept asking for the no objection certificate from the fire department from them, but they were not able to show it to us. It was negligence on their part to keep the flammable object and do welding at a place which led to the rubber catching fire,” said another officer.
Eight teams were formed to investigate Monday’s fire, which has led to the death of nine people so far. Families of victims and survivors as well as staff were questioned. “We did our investigation for the last two days and had made teams to follow the trail to find out the onus of negligence. After the whole process, today we reached to the conclusion that the site supervisor, his assistant and the welders were at fault. Our investigation is continuing and we may add more names in the FIR if we find out roles of others,” said Manoj Kumar Sharma, additional commissioner of police. The police said they are yet to receive reports from the fire department and the Forensic Science Laboratory.