The reception area of Care IVF on Central Avenue after the fire. (Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya)
A fire broke out at an infertility clinic near Girish Park early on Tuesday, trapping an employee inside the clinic and forcing residents staying on the upper floors to evacuate the building.
Koushik Dey, 25, a peon who was sleeping inside Care IVF on the ground floor of a three-storeyed building on Central Avenue, was the first to spot the fire around 6am and alert the fire brigade.
"But he was trapped as the exit was on fire," Subhabrata Masharak, a senior employee of the clinic, said. "Dey was woken from sleep by an acrid smell of something burning. He saw the computer at the reception desk was on fire. After alerting the fire brigade he started screaming for help."
Some people of the area broke down a window grille and got Dey out, he said. "Firefighters, too, entered the clinic through the window. They doused the fire by 7.15am."
"A short circuit in the biometric machine used to register attendance possibly triggered the fire," Masharak said. "The computer with which it was attached, a fax machine, a photocopier and some furniture have been damaged." But USG machines, medical reports and important documents have been spared, he said.
Soumen Ghosh, who lives right above the clinic, said he woke to find his room filled with smoke. "From the balcony I saw the clinic on fire. I immediately woke my wife and other family members and rushed down." Ghosh also owns a garments store adjacent to the clinic.
Police and CESC officials inspected the clinic after the fire had been put out. The clinic has branches on Kalighat Road and Sarat Bose Road.