At least 22 killed in India hospital fire

BHUBANESWAR, India, Oct. 18 (UPI) — At least 22 people were killed and 106 injured in a fire at a hospital that could have been sparked by an electrical short circuit, local health officials said.

The fire began around 7:30 p.m. Monday in the dialysis ward of Sum Hospital, a leading private healthcare hospital and medical college in Bhubaneswar, Orissa. The fire spread to the entire floor, including the intensive care unit.

Several injured were transferred to other hospitals.

Most people might have died due to smoke inhalation, Arti Ahuja, the state’s health secretary, told CNN.

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

Several patients and staff were injured while trying to escape amid the chaos and smoke. Some even attempted to jump out of the second floor.

“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.

Ten fire trucks were used to bring the blaze under control in less than two hours.

“The cause of the fire is being investigated,” DGP (fire services) Binoy Behera said.

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ordered a Revenue Divisional Commissioner level investigation.

Suspended were one fire officer, two engineers and one hospital manager, SOU vice-chancellor Amit Banerjee told reporters.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the fire a “mind-numbing” tragedy on Twitter.

On May 31, a fire broke out at the state-run SCB medical college and hospital in Cuttack. More than 100 patients escaped from the cardiology department.


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