Close shave for patients, kin as hospital basement catches fire

A fire in Manik hospital at Jawahar Nagar witnessed a huge rescue operation on Monday with fire brigade personnel and locals bringing out patients from the wards through whatever means available as thick plumes of smoke engulfed the five-storey building.

Mohammed Akhef | TNN
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Aurangabad: A fire in Manik hospital at Jawahar Nagar witnessed a huge rescue operation on Monday with fire brigade personnel and locals bringing out patients from the wards through whatever means available as thick plumes of smoke engulfed the five-storey building.

There were 33 patients in the building of the hospital and all were rescued safely. A total of 12 fire tenders and water tankers owned by the civic body and also private parties brought the blaze under control in about two hours. All the patients were shifted to Hedgewar hospital.

The fire started in the basement of the hospital — Manik Hospital and Research Centre Private Ltd — that is actually meant for parking but being used illegally for general wards, pathology labs and other purposes.

The fire brigade department found the fire-dousing mechanism, including the fire alarm, at the hospital defunct. A short-circuit is likely to be the cause of the fire that started around 11am, said a fire brigade official

On checking with civic authorities, it came to fore that the hospital in its building plan submitted to the civic body, has shown its parking in the basement.

However, after Monday’s incident, it was found that the hospital management was running an OPD, separate male and female general wards and reception, in addition to other facilities like X-ray, sonography, IVP, CT scan, colour doppler, pathology lab, EEG, EMG, NCV and physiotherapy at the place.

At the time the fire broke out, the basement had around 12 patients, who were rescued by the fire brigade personnel in coordination with locals.

Moreover, the emergency exits on almost all the four floors were found to be under construction, forcing the patients and their relatives to escape from the building by breaking the windows.

Constable Narendra Dixit of the city police, who was attending to his father in the ICU on the second floor, showed rare presence of mind and broke open the window grills using a metal stand and helped several patients and their relatives move out.

Local residents, with the help of a ladder and ropes, brought down patients and their relatives. They were soon joined by fire brigade personnel. Bedsheets were also used to bring out some seriously ill patients.

S M Shakeel, in-charge fire officer, said the rescue operation was a good example of coordination between the fire brigade and the commoners.

Deputy commissioner of police Rahul Shrirame told TOI that prima facie it appears to be a violation of several norms by the hospital management. “We are registering a case of accidental fire, but the future course of police action purely depends on the panchanama report submitted by the fire brigade department and the civic body.”

The hospital management tried to play down the incident while claiming that none of the 33 patients in the hospital sustained any injuries in the incident. Ulhas Kondpalle, nephrologist and the hospital’s CEO, said, “It was an accidental fire and fortunately none of our patients sustained any injuries.”

He said that as per the building plan, the basement is the actual parking area of the hospital and claimed that it was a temporary arrangement.

Deputy municipal commissioner Ravindra Nikam, who reached the spot, said, “We are investigating the exact cause of the fire and are also checking for violations if any by the hospital management.”

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