BHOPAL: At least four children died in a fire incident that took place in the paediatric ward of Kamla Nehru Hospital situated on the premises of Hamidia Hospital here on Monday night, causing panic and chaos. About six children received burns in the incident but it couldn't be confirmed, officially.
The information about death of three children came around midnight through Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's tweet. The hospital authorities, police and administration remained tight-lipped about the casualty even as entry of parents and media persons to the hospital was banned. The hospital staff confirmed death of another child. Besides, condition of some of kids was stated to be serious. "The incident in paediatric ward of Kamla Nehru Hospital is very unfortunate. The rescue work was carried out speedily. Fire was controlled but unfortunately three children who were already seriously injured couldn't be saved", said the CM.
He also ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident saying it would be conducted by additional chief secretary, Health Mohd Suleman. The fire incident has once again brought to light serious lapses in implementation of safety norms in the govt hospitals in general and paediatric wards in particular. Earlier, the CM had said, "The officials present at the site are in touch with me. My ministerial colleague who reached the hospital is monitoring the rescue operation. (I) pray to the God that everyone is fine."
There were parents crying outside the hospital in desperation to know about well-being of their wards but there was no information available. Several parents were furious who alleged they were kept in dark about condition of their children. "I was shooed away when I wanted to enter the hospital", said a woman.
The ward where the fire broke out is situated on the 3rd floor. Several children in a critical condition were shifted to ICU of other hospitals, as per hospital staff. Around 40 children including new born and doctors were believed to be trapped when the fire broke out. Some of the children admitted were taken out by breaking window glass. Stretchers and other equipment were seen being sent inside the hospital.
Eight to 10 fire tenders were pressed into services to douse the fire. Minister for Medical Education Vishvas Sarang rushed to the hospital to assess the situation. According to police, fire was doused in more than one hour but the ward was filled with smoke for a longer time causing suffocation.
Roads were barricaded to check the rush of people towards Hamidia Hospital. Police cordoned off the premises. Routes were diverted.
Parents of one Vinita who is admitted in pediatric ward said, "No one is telling about condition of my child and other children. No doctor is listening." Police said, "Smoke has been propelled by breaking glass of ward. Fire has been doused completely."
Short circuit: Fire brigade in-charge Rameshwar Neel said, "Fire incident seems to have been caused by a short circuit prima facie. Fire has been doused and even smoke has been drained out from ward. Rest of the thing will come in the investigation."
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