Junagadh: Patients rescued from a smoke-filled hospital using bed sheets
The hospital itself was not on fire, but it was inundated with smoke from the blaze-hit laboratory, a diagnostics centre
Rather than waiting for stretchers, alert personnel at a private hospital in Gujarat's Junagadh city used bedsheets to quickly transport patients out of the medical facility, which was inundated with smoke in the early hours of Monday after a fire in a nearby laboratory.
The hospital itself was not on fire, but it was inundated with smoke from the blaze-damaged laboratory, a diagnostics centre.
The hospital and the lab are both on the first level of the structure, which was destroyed by fire at 4:30 a.m.
Doctors stated ten patients were evacuated from the facility and transferred to the city's civic hospital.
Five of them had lung problems as a result of the smoke inhalation and were later referred to another private hospital for treatment, according to police authorities, who added that the majority of them were not in danger.
They added that as the fire burned in the diagnostic centre, it emitted a huge amount of smoke, which penetrated nearby Kaneria Hospital in the Sardar Baug neighbourhood.
Patients were dragged out of the hospital through the emergency exit door and brought to the civil hospital in ambulances for additional treatment, they alleged, amid panic and uncertainty.
According to officials, the hospital had ten patients who were rescued and transported to a civil hospital when smoke filled the building.
According to officials, the smoke also affected a handful of relatives of the patients who were present in the hospital.
"The laboratory and the hospital shared the first floor of the building, divided by the staircase. There is hardly a distance of 20 to 25 feet between them. Supported by wind, smoke entered the hospital through its entrance and covered the hospital. Patients suffered after inhaling smoke," said inspector of B-division police station, Nilesh Rathod.
Hospital head Dr Maulik Kanoria said, "There was no fire in the hospital. But patients suffered from suffocation due to a large amount of smoke entering the hospital building. The patients were shifted out safely. There was no casualty."
According to him, hospital employees used bedsheets to transport the patients out through the fire exit door on the opposite side of the entryway.
Kanoria and the manager of SRL Diagnostics, where the fire started, both said that the two buildings were well-equipped with fire-fighting equipment.
"It is not possible to say how the fire broke out because there are several equipment there. We have received all fire NOCs and necessary equipment are in place," said Hardik Thakkar, the lab manager.
The incident appears to have been sparked by a short circuit in an inverter, according to fire department authorities, but the exact cause will be confirmed following forensic testing.
Gujarat had a rash of tragic fires in hospitals, including those treating COVID-19 patients, last year and in 2020.
The bloodiest of them all occurred on May 1, 2021, in a Bharuch hospital, killing 18 people.
On August 6, 2020, eight COVID-19 patients were killed in a huge fire at a private hospital in Ahmedabad.
Similarly, on November 27, 2021, five patients died in a fire at a private hospital in Rajkot.