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Friday, December 9, 2011

Kolkata: 73 killed in AMRI hospital fire || Kolkata: AMRI directors arrested after 88 die in fire !!!!!!!!!!

Kolkata: At least 73 people - most of them patients - have died in this morning's huge fire at AMRI hospital in Kolkata. There were 160 people inside the hospital in Dhakuria, south Kolkata, when the fire began. 
Families of the victims and the government accuse the privately-owned and posh hospital of ignoring basic fire safety laws - a claim refuted by hospital staff. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said this morning's tragedy was "an unforgivable crime" and vowed "the harshest punishment possible" for those found responsible. The license of the hospital has been cancelled. A First Information Report or FIR has also been filed, which launches a criminal case.
Dead bodies are being moved to the SSKM Hospital; families have been asked to identify their relatives before post-mortems are conducted. (Watch: Rescue worker shares what he saw)
The fire began in the basement, where highly inflammable material was allegedly stored. Eyewitnesses say they first spotted and reported smoke streaming from the hospital around 3 am, but the first fire engine arrived two hours later. Additional Director General Fire Services D Biswas, however, denied any delay.
He said that the fire brigade was informed at 4.10 am and it responded immediately.


The road leading to the hospital is narrow and congested. Inside the hospital, there was chaos - the building was engulfed in smoke, many patients suffocated. "Every door is locked, every window is locked," said a resident who tried to help. "We cannot bring any patient outside," he said, his anger visible. Through the morning, firemen were seen using ropes and ladders to enter the different floors of the hospital; some windows had to be smashed.
News agency IANS quoted an unnamed hospital spokesperson who reportedly said, "At the time of the fire, there were 160 patients, including around 40-50 in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit)." A man whose wife, Munmun, died in the fire says that in the orthopedic ward where she suffocated, most patientswere injured and could not move to safety.
(Munmun, 36, phoned husband to say she was suffocating)

Fire department officials like Mr Biswas blame the hospital for turning into a death trap, alleging that the hospital did not have adequate fire-fighting facilities. AMRI staff denies this. "All statutory safety and fire licences are in place," said S Upadhay, senior vice-president of the hospital.
Relatives of patients vandalized the reception of the hospital this morning, upset that not enough information was being shared by staff. (Read: Family members vandalise hospital reception)
AMRI hospital was set up in 1996, and is co-owned by the Emami & Shrachi Groups. (With agency inputs)

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