Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): At least four children died in a fire incident that occurred in the paediatric ward of Kamla Nehru Hospital situated on the premises of Hamidia Hospital here on Monday night, causing panic and chaotic situation among parents and hospital staff.
There was also information about at least six children sustaining burn injuries but it couldn’t be confirmed officially.
The information about death of the three children came around midnight, about three hours after the fire broke out, through chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s tweet. The authorities of the hospital, 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 the students was stated to be serious.
“The incident in the 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 ailing couldn’t be saved”, said the CM.
The CM also announced a high level inquiry into the incident saying the inquiry would be conducted by additional chief secretary, Health Mohd Suleman.
The fire incident has once again brought to light serious lapses in implementation of the safety norms in the government 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 immediately 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 at the 3rd floor. Several children in a critical condition were shifted to intensive care unit (ICU) of other hospitals, as per hospital staff.
Around 70 to 80 Children including new born babies 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 ten 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.”
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.”
Fire brigade team reached the spot and started recuse operation. pic.twitter.com/NObLREmYi3— Free Press Journal (@fpjindia) November 8, 2021
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