THREE DAYS after two persons were killed in a stampede following a fire in a Murshidabad hospital, a fire broke out at state-run Sambhunath Pandit Hospital in Kolkata on Monday. However, there were no reports of any casualty.
Around 11.40 am, a hospital staff member noticed smoke emanating from a window on the second floor of the administration building.
Four fire tenders were rushed to the hospital to control the blaze, which reportedly resulted from a short circuit in an air condition.
However, sources said that the blaze was already in control by the time fire tenders reached the hospital.
“We were able to control the blaze with the help of the five fire extinguishers installed in the hospital. The fire tenders did a thorough check of the hospital premises,” said hospital superintendent Dr S Dutta.
After the fire was detected, patients and their attendants were seen rushing towards the exit gate. The out patient department was immediately shut. Services resumed after one hour. “I think the heath department should take the matter seriously and find out the cause behind the fire. Why wait for a tragedy to happen?” said Amrita Sarkar, a college student who had come to the OPD with her mother.
A relative of a patient admitted at Sambhunath Pandit Hospital rued that no lessons has been learnt from the AMRI fire in Kolkata four years ago, which had led to the death of around 90 people.
“More than four years have passed, but the government is yet to take measures to prevent fires in hospitals,” said Ravi Poddar.
Sources said this is the third instance in the last nine days when fires have been reported from state-run hospitals. On August 20, a fire had broken out at the operation theatre of a sub-divisional hospital at Katwa in Burdwan. A week later, two people were killed and several injured in a stampede after a fire broke out in Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital.
In both cases of Murshidabad and Sambhunath Pandit hospitals, the fire reportedly originated from an AC.
“Either it is bad maintenance, or the AC may have been overused, leading to a fire,” said a senior official.