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Two dead in Murshidabad hospital fire

Nursing staff Purnima Das and Mamoni Das were killed in the stampede that ensued after people tried to escape from the fire, said health officials.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
August 28, 2016 4:44:06 am
murshidabad, murshidabad hospital, murshidabad hospital fire, murshidabad fire, fire in murshidabad hospital, bengal hospital fire, west bengal, mamata banerjee, bengal fire At the hospital, in Murshidabad on Saturday. (Source: PTI photo)

At least two persons were killed and more than 20 injured in a stampede after a fire broke out in Murshidabad Medical College on Saturday. The state government has ordered a CID probe into the incident.

“Fire broke out around 11.50 am in an air-conditioning machine installed on the second floor of a vacant VIP cabin at the main medical ward,” director of Health and Services Biswaranjan Satpathi told The Indian Express.

Nursing staff Purnima Das and Mamoni Das were killed in the stampede that ensued after people tried to escape from the fire, said health officials.

Sources said there were more than 5,000 people on the hospital premises when the incident occurred. The emergency gate of the hospital was reportedly closed, so patients and hospital staff had to use only one staircase while trying to escape. It has been alleged that the fire alarm at the hospital was not functioning.

Newborns in the sick newborn care unit were brought out of the premises and kept on the lawns as their parents and hospital staff attended to them.

“Patients in the ward adjacent to where the fire broke out were immediately taken out. All of them were relocated to the newly built Mother Child Hub,” Satpathi said. “There is no panic right now. The situation is under control,” he added.

State Fire Minister Sovan Chatterjee too said the blaze was “well under control”.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is learnt to be monitoring the situation from Kolkata and has asked police, fire and health departments to submit reports about the incident.

R S Shukla, Principal Secretary, Health, said, “A team from the health department has been sent to the hospital. It will soon submit a report.”

According to sources, the state government has declared a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of both victims and free treatment for the injured.

Family members of the patients have alleged that the hospital lacked basic fire fighting infrastructure.

Eyewitnesses said there were no fire extinguishers inside the ward and the elevator, too, was not working.

A hospital staff said it was not surprising that a short circuit in the AC machine caused the fire. “I have rarely seen any AC machines being serviced,” he said.

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