Kolkata: Although there is still no clarity on what caused the fire at the AMRI hospital in Kolkata early Friday, initial investigation into the incident suggests that fire safety norms were clearly violated by the hospital management.
According to the fire brigade officials, who were involved in the relief and rescue operation, the basement of the AMRI hospital, which should have been used for parking vehicles, was converted into a medical equipment storage facility.
The experts of the fire department say that some highly flammable material were being stored in the basement, which possibly stoked the fire which is supposed to have been caused by an electric short-circuit.
West Bengal Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim has also confirmed that the hospital basement was being illegally used as the storage facility, thus violating the safety standards meant for avoiding such mishaps.
Initial investigation into the incident and the eyewitnesses suggest that the fire originated in the electrical department in the basement of the AMRI hospital at around 3 am, which quickly spread to the first and second floors, trapping patients.
The electricity supply was immediately cut off by the fire brigade officials to prevent it from spreading to other areas and causing much damage.
However, by then massive fire had engulfed the first and second floors, leading several patients suffocating to their tragic deaths.
The West Bengal government has announced that action will be taken against the hospital management if found guilty of violating the safety norms.
First Published: Friday, December 09, 2011, 11:11