India fire claims 89 lives mostly hospital patients, owners arrested

By on Dec 10, 2011 in Asia Comments

A hospital in Kolkata, India was caught on fire on Friday, December 9, 2011, and has claimed at least 89 lives; with most of them were patients. Dozens were also reported to have been injured.

Indian rescue workers, evacuating a woman
from the fire at AMRI Hospital in Kolkata

Image Credit: AP

According to international news sites that day, Indian media said that the fire broke out at AMRI Hospital at around 3:30 a.m. (local time) and was described as the worst fire incident in any local hospital.

As noted at Times of India, the fire spread fast from the basement of the private hospital and hundreds of people of were trapped, with the worst affected were the ICU patients who died due to suffocation.

Apparently, fire fighters were said to have rescued about 50 people but most of the patients were reportedly abandoned by hospital staff and the owners were booked for further investigation.

“Six directors of the AMRI hospital have been arrested today in connection with the fire tragedy. Those arrested include SK Todi, RS Goenka and Ravi Todi.” Damayanti Sen, joint commissioner of police was quoted on the report.

SK Todi, who reportedly surrendered at once, is the chairman of the Shrachi Group while RS Goenka is the chairman of the Emami Group; with both of them co-founding the said hospital back in 1996.

Los Angeles Times reported that five fire engines arrived at the scene and the fire was under control after a few hours, but a lot of patients’ relatives were angry noting the lack of information and negligence on the part of the hospital management.

As of this writing, the case is still under thorough investigation but the West Bengal government promised to take strong action against anyone proven guilty of gross negligence.

On the other hand, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reportedly vowed to give 200,000 rupees ($4,000) each to the families with casualties.

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