At least 22 people died after a fire broke out at SUM hospital in Bhubaneswar on Monday evening. Many have been injured and the fire originated around 7.30 pm in the dialysis ward in the second floor of the hospital. While seven critical patients with ventilators were admitted to the dialysis ward, 11 patients were present in nearby ICU.
Even though the hospital authorities kept mum on the number of casualties, the nearby hospitals where people were sent for further treatment confirmed the deaths. “Some private hospitals and government-run Capital Hospital received the dead bodies. Those patients were shifted from SUM Hospital,” Khurda district collector Niranjan Sahoo told media persons.
“The patients might have died on the way to other hospitals. We are inquiring into the matter. We will also find out whether any patient died in SUM,” health secretary Arti Ahuja said.
DGP (fire services) Binoy Behera said the exact cause of the fire is being investigated. “Prima facie, we suspect the fire occurred due to an electric short circuit in the dialysis ward,” Behera said. The magnitude of the fire was so intense that the firefighters had a herculean task to rescue the patients amid thick smoke bellowing from all sides. “It was difficult to use the staircase. We had to carefully drop the patients by tying them with clothes,” said a fire service officer. At least ten fire tenders and 120 firefighters were mobilized to douse the inferno.
Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said many patients are currently undergoing treatment in different hospitals. “We have mobilized adequate doctors for their treatment,” Nayak said.
“Soon after the fire mishap, we shifted all patients to safer places. We also broke open some windows to prevent suffocation of patients. Our own staffers were engaged to rescue the patients,” said hospital’s deputy superintendent Basant Pati.