88 killed in Kolkata hospital fire
Kolkata, Dec 9: At least 88 persons mostly patients were choked to death when a major fire engulfed a multi-speciality centrally- airconditioned seven-storey 190-bed AMRI private hospital in the metropolis early today.
"Most of the deaths were caused by suffocation," Fire Service and Disaster Management Minister Javed Khan told reporters here.
Industrialist S K Modi and five others on the board of the hospital in Dhakuria in south Kolkata have been arrested for culpable homicide, negligence and other charges, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters. Joint Commissioner of Police Shivaji Ghosh said 88 persons died in the incident.
These included a Bangladeshi national and two Congress leaders -- former AICC member Ajoy Ghoshal and former MLA from Shyampur in Howrah district Sisir Sen --both of whom were admitted for treatment.
The fire in the annexe building of the hospital was detected at around 3:30 AM by local people who rushed to the gates, but were driven away by the security guards, following which the fire spread swiftly, West Bengal Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said.
The Lake police station was first informed at 4:10 with the fire brigade arriving at the AMRI Hospital at Dhakuria within ten minutes, Khan said.
"Smoke was carried through AC ducts and it was luck that oxygen cylinders could be removed from the fire zone," he said.
As smoke billowed out, firemen using ladders with platforms smashed window panes in the facade of the building to rescue patients trapped inside the ICU, ICCU, Intensive Therapy Unit and Critical Care units.
The firemen evacuated patients with pulleys from the upper floors as they were not in a condition to be taken down by ladders put up by the fire brigade all around the building.
Banerjee, who visited the hospital, ordered a probe. She also directed cancellation of licence of the hospital.
"As per my announcement that offenders will be apprehended, six persons, including S K Todi, have been arrested," she said.
Besides Todi, R S Goenka, Ravi Goenka, Manish Goenka, Prasanta Goenka and Dayananda Agarwal on the board of the hospital were also arrested.
The six have been charged with negligence, culpable homicide not amounting to murder and attempt to culpable homicide, a senior police official said.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 9 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 9 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 10 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST
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