20 dead after massive fire at Bhubaneswar’s SUM hospital in Odisha

BHUBANESWAR,Oct18: At least 20 people were killed and around 50 injured in a majorfire that broke out at Sum Hospital, a leading private healthcare institute, in Bhubaneswar late on Monday.

Sources said the fire started around 7.30pm in the dialysis ward on the second floor of the hospital. An electrical short circuit in the ward could have sparked the fire, which engulfed the entire floor within minutes, hospital sources said. While seven critical patients with ventilators were admitted in the dialysis ward, 11 patients were present in nearby ICU.

The affected patients were moved to other hospitals in the city. AMRI Hospital reported eight dead, while the rest of those who suffered burns were shifted to Capital Hospital. The helpline numbers for Amri hospital is 06746666600, Extension 7082,7030.

“A number of patients were present in the ward when the fire broke out,” a police officer said.

Ten fire tenders were deployed to bring the blaze under control. “The cause of the fire is being investigated,” DGP (fire services) Binoy Behera said. Several patients and their attendants were injured while trying to escape amid the chaos and smoke. Many complained of difficulty in breathing and had been shifted to other hospitals. Sources said some are in critical condition.

“Soon after the fire broke out, we shifted patients to a safer place. We also broke open some window panes to prevent suffocation of patients. Our own staffers were engaged in the rescue act,” hospital deputy superintendent Basant Pati said. According to the police some of the frightened patients tried to jump from the second floor.

“Out of panic, some people were attempting to jump to rescue themselves. We prevented them from doing so and rescued them,” a police officer said.

The blaze was brought under control later in the night.

Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik visited Sum Hospital and took stock of the situation. He also ordered Revenue Divisional Commissioner level probe into the mishap.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with the Odisha CM and assured all help in dealing with the tragedy. He expressed anguish at the loss of lives in the incident.

 Three officials of the Sum Hospital, including the manager have been suspended. The other two are the hospital’s electrical and fire officers.
Odisha Fire services DGP Binoy Behera has ordered a fire safety audit of all the hospitals in the state.
This is the second such incident in the state within six months. On May 31, a fire broke out at the state-run SCB medical college and hospital in Cuttack. Over 100 patients had a fortunate escape when the cardiology department caught fire

The fire is suspected to have started from the dialysis ward of the hospital, located on the first floor, possibly due to an electrical short circuit, around 7.30 in the evening. From there it spread to the Intensive Care Unit and the medicine wards.

Hospital officials said at the time, more than 500 indoor patients were in the building. All the patients have been evacuated and moved to other hospitals – including the Capital Hospital and AMRI, Bhubaneswar, they said.

Calling the tragedy “mind-numbing” and expressing anguish for the loss of lives, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Spoke to Minister @JPNadda & asked him to facilitate transfer of all those injured to AIIMS. Hope the injured recover quickly.”

“I have spoken to Director, AIIMS Bhubaneswar to provide all necessary support and help the patients in the best way possible. @narendramodi,” Mr Nadda tweeted.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik visited the patients and ordered an inquiry into the fire. He also tweeted saying that he had briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the treatment of the injured and the monitoring of the situation.

A doctor at Capital Hospital told NDTV that they have received 14 dead bodies. Five other patients were shifted there as well from SUM Hospital.

AMRI Hospital (Bhubaneswar) unit head Dr Salil Kumar Mohanty told PTI that their doctors “declared eight persons as dead on arrival”.

Seven fire engines are at the spot and officials said the blaze has been brought under control.

In 2011, a major blaze had engulfed AMRI Hospital in Kolkata, killing more than 90 people — 85 of them were patients at the hospital.

The Odisha government has set up a helpline number: 9439991226.

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