Bokaro, Sept. 11: Bokaro’s KM Memorial Hospital, where a fire claimed the lives of three ICU patients last week, was operating without an NOC from the district fire department, an investigation has revealed.
According to a probe conducted by Chas SDO Sanjay Singh, DSO B. Kullu and district fire officer Ganga Khalko, the 100-bed hospital owned by the family of Giridih MP Ravindra Pandey did not fulfil mandatory fire safety norms, an accusation that also figures in an FIR lodged against the hospital today by a relative of a patient who died in the blaze.
In his complaint lodged with the Chas township police station, Anil Kumar Sao alleged that his brother Ashok Kumar, who died of suffocation inside the ICU, had been admitted for treatment for cerebral malaria.
Ashok, he said, was extremely weak and hence could not walk out when the fire broke out around 8pm on September 8.
“After the fire broke out in the ICU, my brother (Ashok) could not escape. At the time, the hospital staff was busy trying to save medical equipment rather than move out patients. Ashok could not be saved due to the negligent and uncaring attitude of the hospital,” he alleged.
The FIR, number 277/12, has been filed under sections 304(A), 285 and 34 of IPC against the hospital management and staff manning the ICU at the time of the fire.
While section 304(A) deals with negligence leading to death, section 285 concerns the lack of equipment or machinery that could prevent the loss of lives. Section 34 is to book a group of people for committing an offence that causes death or injury to individuals.
There were 72 patients in the hospital — 14 of them in ICU — at the time of the blaze that occurred in the specialised unit due to a short-circuit a day after incessant rain had flooded the hospital’s ground floor, which houses general wards and doctors’ chambers.
Firefighters who reached the spot within 10 minutes found it difficult to access the ICU on the second floor as the glass partitions could not be opened. Ultimately, they had to move in from outside after breaking windows. The fire was brought under control after an hour and 10 minutes.
Three ICU patients, one of whom was an elderly woman, died of suffocation. They were Devashree (80), who was suffering from acute cardiac problems, Jethu Manjhi (52), who was being treated for lung congestion, and Ashok Kumar.
Based on the findings of post-mortems conducted on the three victims, Bokaro DC Sunil Kumar said they died after inhaling noxious gases like carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.