Kolkata: As the death toll increased in the
devastating fire in a private hospital here on Friday, there were
allegations that firemen arrived late on the scene but the
fire brigade maintained there was no delay.
Manas Sau, a local who assisted in the rescue effort,
said, "The fire tenders arrived at the main gate and found it
locked and only after much effort were able to get inside."
On the allegations by relatives of victims of late
arrival by the firemen, Additional Director General (Fire
Services) D Biswas said that the fire brigade was informed at
4:10 am and responded immediately.
The fire brigade personnel used snorkel ladders and other
equipment to reach some of the patients and bring them down to
safety, the ADG said.
The patients were immediately shifted to the main
building or other hospitals by government officials and
Kolkata police personnel, he said.
Questions were also raised about the fire safety
measures at the hospital.
The ADG said if proper fire fighting arrangements
existed at the hospital, such a blaze could not have taken
Disaster Management Minister Javed Khan also spoke on the
Senior vice-president of AMRI, however, claimed that the
hospital followed strict fire safety measures and conducted
regular fire drills. "All statutory safety and fire licences
are in place."
Hospital sources said, no employee fled at the time of
the fire. "Not only the Dhakuria team but staff members of
other branches reached within two hours to assist.
"The staff has been courageous saving many lives.. Its
saddening that their service and commitment has come under
doubt," a source said.