Bhubaneswar fire tragedy: Sum Hospital superintendent, three others arrested

Most of the deaths in the four-storey Sum hospital took place due to suffocation and asphyxiation.

Bhubaneswar fire tragedy: Sum Hospital superintendent, three others arrested
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Bhubaneswar: A day after more than twenty people were killed in a major tragedy in Odisha, the superintendent of Sum Hospital and three others were arrested by  Khandagiri police for the incident.

Those arrested are Superintendent of Sum Hospital, Pushpraj Samantsinghar, Electrical Maintenance Engineer Amulya Sahu, Fire Safety Officer Santosh Das and Junior Electrical Engineer Malay Sahu, said Commissioner of Police YB Khurania.

Khurania said the officials were arrested on the basis of the preliminary inquiry report of the fire officer and the FIR filed by the Fire Services department at the Khandagiri police station where a case in this regard has been registered today.

The four were booked under Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire and combustible materials) and 34 (common intent) of the IPC, Khurania said.

Meanwhile, Director General of Fire Service, Binay Behera submitted a report to the state government on the fire that ravaged parts of the private hospital last night in which 20 people died and many were injured.

Behera in his report has mentioned that fire safety norms as per the 2013 guidelines were not followed by the hospital authorities, an official said, as per PTI.

A senior police official said more arrests in the case cannot be ruled out at this stage. 

Most of the deaths in the four-storey hospital took place due to suffocation and asphyxiation, a senior official said, adding that majority of the patients at the ICU were on ventilator support.

The authorities of the Siksha 'O' Anusandhan University (SOU), which runs the Institute of Medical Sciences and Sum Hospital, announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the victims' families.

SOU vice-chancellor Amit Banerjee told reporters that ICU and dialysis unit of the hospital have been sealed to ensure a proper investigation.

The blaze was suspected to have been triggered by an electric short circuit in the dialysis ward on the first floor which spread to the nearby ICU.

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

The state government has already ordered a high-level probe by the Director, Medical Education and Training, into the incident.

In addition, a probe by the revenue divisional commissioner (RDC) has also been ordered, an official said.

Rejecting allegation that the high casualty was due to wrong evacuation process, Banerjee said, "We have followed the best of the evacuation protocol. Had we not followed it the casualty would have been more."

On the other hand, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik visited some of the hospitals, including AIIMS and AMRI Hospital, to inquire about the condition of the patients undergoing treatment.

He said that expenses for treatment of the injured persons in the fire incident would be borne by state government from CM relief fund.

(With Agency inputs)