20 die in India hospital fire

Dhaka,  Thu,  08 December 2016
Published : 18 Oct 2016, 09:43:51 | Updated : 18 Oct 2016, 13:37:57

Major hospital fire in India's Odisha kills 20, wounds dozens

At least 20 people were killed and several injured after a fierce fire broke out in a hospital in eastern India, local police say.

They say the fire started on Monday evening in the dialysis ward of the SUM hospital, a private facility in the city of Bhubaneswar, Odisha state.

"The fire left 20 people dead and more than 100 people injured. They have been admitted to various hospitals in Bhubaneswar and the medical college in Cuttack," the state's health secretary Arati Ahuja told the BBC.

Many of the injured are in a critical condition. Earlier reports had put the death toll at 23.

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

About 120 firefighters were mobilised to tackle the blaze, which was later brought under control.

Eyewitnesses and hospital sources said the fire, suspected to have been caused by an electrical short circuit, was first spotted in the ICU of the medicine ward before spreading to the dialysis ward next door.

Most of the victims reportedly died from smoke inhalation.

"We can confirm 19 deaths in the incident," Bhubaneswar police commissioner Yogesh Khurania initially told a news agency.

Commissioner Khurania said that many of the injured were in critical condition and the death toll could rise further.

Some frightened patients and hospital employees tried to jump out of the building's windows but were prevented from doing so by police, reports said

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

In 2011, 89 people died in a fire that broke out in a hospital in the eastern city of Kolkata; according to agencies.

- TM
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