Fifty-eight patients, 20 of whom were reportedly receiving Covid-19 treatment, were evacuated from Kasturba Hospital in Chinchpokli after a gas leak incident on Saturday afternoon. Additional municipal commissioner later said 12 evacuated patients were being treated for Covid-19 and that the earlier reports included the staff in the ward.
The leak was reported from an LPG bullet tank on the ground floor of the hospital and a team from Hindustan Petroleum Corporation was called in to seal it. One Hazardous Materials Apparatus (HAZMAT) response vehicle, three fire brigade engines and three jumbo tankers were deployed to prevent any untoward incident. The tank caters to the hospital kitchen, automatic laundry system and ancillary equipment.
State minister of environment Aaditya Thackeray, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar and deputy Mayor Suhas Wadkar visited the hospital following the leak.
Chief fire officer Hemant Parab said the leakage occurred in a joint of the tank. He told Free Press Journal, “Repair works were underway inside the hospital compound, and we suspect that leakage must have happened after a sharp object accidently touched the cylinder.” He said the fire brigade department has cordoned off the area and the gas from the tank is being decanted into mobile tankers. He said it will be replaced soon.
According to the BMC’s disaster management cell, the incident was reported from building number 148, a part of which is used as a mini isolation facility for Covid-19 patients. Civic officials said patients and medical staffers smelt gas at around 11 am and alerted the medical superintendent, who undertook the evacuation exercise. Kakani said security guards helped in shifting them to another building within the hospital.
Residents in the vicinity of the hospital said they smelt the gas, too. A resident, Deepak Joshi said, “We called the fire brigade as our entire building was smelling of gas. It was only later that we found out that the leak occurred at the hospital.”
Aaditya Thackeray later tweeted, “I visited Kasturba Hospital along with Mumbai Mayor this afternoon. The hospital administration and fire brigade has handled the situation with utmost promptness. I am in constant touch with all the relevant authorities.”