At least 22 persons were killed and 120 others injured when a major fire broke out at SUM Hospital in Bhubaneswar on Monday evening.

While 14 patients were received “brought dead” at the Capital Hospital, eight were “brought dead” to AMRI Hospital from the fire-struck private medical facility, officials said.

The Capital Hospital superintendent Binod Kumar Mishra said, “We have received 14 dead bodies, while five other patients have been shifted from Sum Hospital.”

Meanwhile, AMRI Hospital (Bhubaneswar) unit head Salil Kumar Mohanty said, “A total of 37 patients were received at our casualty ward. Our doctors have declared eight persons as brought dead.”

“Most of the victims were in the first floor ICU of the ill-fated SUM Hospital,” a doctor at the Capital Hospital said.

Voicing “serious” concern over the fire incident at the SUM Hospital, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik described the mishap as “very tragic“.

He directed the government hospitals to provide necessary treatment to patients shifted from SUM Hospital and requested all private hospitals to extend treatment to the patients from the fire-hit medical facility.

Mr. Patnaik has also ordered an inquiry heade by a revenue divisional commissioner into the incident.

Unconfirmed reports said three to four persons were killed in SUM Hospital itself during fire. The death toll is likely to increase. Most of the deaths had occurred during shifting of critical patients. Hospitals such as AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, KIIMS and Kalinga Hospital also received patients from the fire-hit hospital.

“We have kept doctors on alert in both government and private hospitals in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. We have appealed to every hospital to receive serious patients coming from SUM Hospital,” said Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, Odisha Health and Family Welfare Minister.

Mr. Nayak said the State government had already ordered a probe into the circumstances under which the fire broke out.

Fire was first spotted in the Dialysis ICU and operation theatre situated in the first floor of the SUM Hospital building around 7.45 p.m. As per initial reports, short-circuit was believed to have caused fire.

More than 100 patients and their attendants were injured due to fire. Some people were found to have sustained burn injuries.

Although five fire tenders for more than three hours were deployed to bring the flames under control, smokes were continuing to billow from the first floor of the hospital.

“In an attempt to prevent suffocation from causing further damage, glass windows were immediately shattered by our volunteers and medical staff to make way for fresh air. Besides, critical patients were promptly evacuated,” Paresh Das, director of public relations of SOA University, told The Hindu.

Eyewitnesses said attendants were seen jumping from the first floors by breaking glass windows. Dozens of ambulances were mobilised to shift patients to hospitals across Bhubaneswar. Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force has been deployed at different places to facilitate smooth transfer of patients to different hospitals.

by T.Hindu