Bhubaneswar: Panic gripped patients and their relatives as well as staff following a major fire outbreak in the city based SUM hospital that left as many as 22 dead. Suffocation also caused injuries to many police said. Of the injured shifted from SUM, 14 died in capital hospital and rest 8 in AMRI.
According to the fire services sources, a short circuit caused fire in the dialysis ward in the second floor of the hospital at around 7.30 pm. Over 30 patients were present in the ward when the mishap occurred, police sources said.
“We engaged adequate fire tenders and rescue teams. Cause of the fire mishap is being investigated,” DGP (fire services) Binoy Behera told media persons. Hospital sources said an electric short circuit in the ward sparked the fire, which engulfed the floor in blink of an eye.
“Soon after the fire mishap, we shifted all patients to safer places. We also broke open some windows to prevent suffocation of patients. Our own staffers were engaged to rescue the patients,” said hospital’s deputy superintendent Basant Pati. But he did not confirm whether any patient died in the tragedy. Police sources said some patients, who suffered from suffocation, were rushed to Capital Hospital. Their conditions were stated to be normal.
Police said they prevented some frightened patients and attendants from jumping from the second floor. “Out of panic, some persons were attempting to jump to rescue themselves. We prevented them and rescued,” said a police officer. Police engaged 13 ambulances and 7 fire extinguisher vehicles in the fire fighting operation.
Sources said several patients and attendants were injured while trying to escape amid the chaos and thick smoke. “I was carrying my ailing father on shoulders outside the ward, but I fell down in the chaotic situation. In the smoke, I could not find my father. Hospital authorities dragged me outside safely. But my father was trapped inside,” said Jyoti Behera, an attendant.
The incident came close on heels of May 31 fire mishap at the state-run SCB medical college and hospital in Cuttack. Over 100 patients had had providential escape when the cardiology department of SCB caught fire.