Fifteen patients died in the fire at Vijay Vallabh Hospital early on Friday
MUMBAI: Nurses, ward boys and other staff at the Virar hospital, where 15 patients died after a fire broke out in the intensive care unit (ICU), had tried to fight the fire using extinguishers for about 15 minutes, fire officials said, adding that hospital employees had delayed calling up the fire brigade.
According to records, the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation’s fire brigade received a call from Vijay Vallabh Hospital at 3.13 am. The fire brigade vehicle arrived at the hospital at 3.18 am. The fire was extinguished at 3.45 am. A fire officer said that two nurses in the ICU had noticed sparks from the AC unit placed behind their table. They alerted other colleagues at the hospital and used fire extinguishers to control the sparks.
When things went out of control, they called up the fire brigade by which time about 15 minutes had been lost, fire officials said. By the time firemen arrived at the spot, there were 13 charred bodies.
A fireman said that the hospital employees, while using fire extinguishers, should have simultaneously called up the fire brigade as sparks had been noticed in the ICU that requires rapid response. The hospital staff had undergone training in fire safety .
The staff managed to rescue four patients who were near the exit. Among these, two women were the first to be rescued. They did not sustain burn injuries, but were gasping for breath as oxygen supply in the ICU had stopped due to power failure. The condition of these women is now stable and their oxygen levels are being monitored.
Shivaji Wilkar (56), who had been rescued with burn injuries, died later at a hospital in Vasai. Nirav Sampat (31) died while being moved to a hospital in Byculla for severe burn injuries.
The hospital administrators Dr Dilip Shah, Bastimal Shah and Shailesh Pathak, along with medical staff have been booked, said an fficial of Arnala Coastal police station. They have been charged under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code. No arrest has been made, said the police
The probe into the fire incide has been handed over to the Mira-Bhayander Vasai -Virar crime branch.
The hospital had renewed its fire licence last month after a fire officer had visited the hospital.