55 people have been confirmed dead as fire broke out in the wee hours of the morning in the AMRI Hospital located in the Dhakuria area of south Kolkata. The death toll may go up as there are more people said to be trapped inside. The fire engulfed 4 floors of one of the buildings of the 161-beded hospital.
The fire broke out in the basement area of the hospital. The basement which is to be used as a parking area for vehicles was being used as a medical equipment storage facility, where certain highly inflammable materials were being stored. An electric circuit is what is said to have caused the fire.
The hospital did not have proper firefighting equipment. The fire brigade tried to put off the fire and also smashed the window panes in an attempt to rescue all the patients trapped in the ICCU, ICU and the Critical Care Units. Thick smoke that had engulfed the area was causing a major hindrance to their operations. The hospital authorities fled the area and did not even help the patient’s and just abandoned them there, alleged the relatives of the patients who died due to the fire.
The West Bengal Planning and Urban Development Minister said that action would be taken against the management of the hospital. The Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee immediately rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.
Report by Priyanka S Menon