22 killed in Bhubaneswar fire, short circuit likely to be reason; three SUM Hospital employees suspended

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik has ordered a RDC-level probe into a fire that broke out at SUM Hospital in Bhubaneswar on Monday evening.

22 killed in Bhubaneswar fire, short circuit likely to be reason; three SUM Hospital employees suspended
People gather outside the private Sum Hospital after a fire broke out in its intensive care unit, in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, on October 17, 2016.

Bhubaneswar: In a tragic incident, at least 22 persons were killed and over 20 others injured in a fire that broke out at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital in Bhubaneswar on Monday evening.

While the government-run Capital Hospital's officials confirmed receiving 14 bodies, eight bodies were received by the AMRI Hospital in Bhubaneswar.

"A total 22 persons have died. While 14 have died in Capital Hospital, eight died in AMRI Hospitals," said Akhila Bihari Ota, Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Central).

Over 50 patients were rescued from the dialysis ward and the adjoining Intensive Care Unit, the officials said.

The rescued patients were shifted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Bhubaneswar and other hospitals, said Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak.

Meanwhile, SUM Hospital suspended three employees and formed an internal inquiry committee to probe the lapses.

The blaze was suspected to have been triggered by an electric short circuit in the dialysis ward on the first floor of the private hospital which spread to the nearby Intensive Care Unit.

The fire rapidly spread to other areas on the same floor of the four-storeyed hospital building.

Many patients were rescued by breaking window panes, an eyewitness said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who visited Capital hospital to oversee treatment of evacuated patients, ordered a Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC)-level probe into the whole incident.

Expressing his grief over the incident, he said free treatment would be provided to the injured persons.

The Chief Minister also spoke with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and briefed about efforts towards treatment of injured.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed deep anguish over the deaths in Odisha capital Bhubaneswar.

"Deeply anguished by the loss of lives in the hospital fire in Odisha. The tragedy is mind-numbing. My thoughts are with bereaved families," he tweeted.

Odisha Health Secretary Arti Ahuja said an inquiry committee has been constituted to inquire into the fire and whether the hospital authorities had taken safety measures or not.

The probe team comprises the Khurda Collector, Director of Medical Education and Training and the District Fire Officer, she added.

The cause of the fire is said to be an electrical short-circuit. The fire broke out in the intensive care unit (ICU) of dialysis ward of the hospital, said sources.

About seven fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the fire.

Fire Service Director General Binay Behera said fire personnel were engaged to control the fire and carry out rescue operation.

"Rescuing the patients and those present in the hospital is our priority. We are yet to assess the damage and ascertain the source of the fire," Behera said.

Modi said he spoke to Union Health Minister JP Nadda and asked him to facilitate transfer of all the injured to All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Bhubaneswar. "Hope the injured recover quickly," Modi said.

Nadda tweeted: "Deeply saddened by the fire incident in Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, Bhubaneswar. My condolences rest with the bereaved families."

Talking to CNN News 18, Nadda said: "We have told the State Government that whatever help is required, will be extended by the Central Government. If there is any situation where the patients need our help we are ready for that too.

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan informed that he spoke to Odisha Health Minister and offered all possible help to deal with this tragic incident.

The government has set up a helpline number: 9439991226.

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