The fire services department has reiterated its three-year-old recommendation that Calcutta Medical College and Hospital overhaul safety measures after a fire broke out in a nursery inside the gynaecological ward on Tuesday night.
The 20 babies in the nursery on the first floor of Eden Building had to be evacuated after medical staff noticed that the AC enclosure was filling up with smoke. Many pregnant women were also evacuated from the ward.
“We were preparing to go to sleep when I heard loud cries from the nursery. Then I saw nurses carrying babies out of the nursery,” said Pratima Gaint, who delivered a boy on Sunday night.
Two fire engines brought the flames under control. Firemen said a short-circuit in an air-conditioner could have sparked the fire. The infants who were shifted to another nursery in the same ward will be kept there till the AC is replaced. “We found out the hospital was ill-prepared to deal with a blaze while putting out a fire in an electric sub-station on the premises three years ago. We submitted a report stating the measures needed to be implemented,” said a senior fire officer.
In the report, the fire department had recommended an increase in the capacity of the water reservoir and fire extinguishers, installation of smoke detectors in departments and appointment of dedicated fire safety officers.
A panel visited Calcutta Medical College after 91 people were killed in a fire at AMRI Hospitals last December. “Nothing had changed since our visit two-and-a-half-years ago,” said an officer. A hospital official said they had forwarded the recommendations to the health department, which must approve the changes.