Kolkata fire toll reaches 88; six AMRI directors arrested

Posted By: Ria
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Fire in AMRI Hospital
Kolkata, Dec 9: Six directors of AMRI hospital have been arrested on Friday evening by the Kolkata police. They will be produced in the court on Saturday.

Those arrested are RS Goenka, Manish Prashant, DN Agarwal, SK Todi and Ravi Todi as a devastating fire swept through the south Kolkata's AMRI hospital on Friday morning. At least 88 casualties have been reported so far.

After the incident, West Bengal government cancelled the license of all the AMRI hospitals in the city.

"Forty one bodies have been taken to the (state-run) SSKM Hospital. Twenty other bodies are still there in an upper floor of AMRI hospital," said Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal.

Close to 25 fire tenders rushed to the spot and rescued approximately 160 people trapped in the building including staff and patients. Witnesses claimed that patients were evacuated in bedsheets.

The fire broke out at around 3.30 am but the fire tenders reached the spot only two hours later. The fire is suspected to have originated in the electrical department in the basement which swiftly spread to the first and second floors of the hospital because of the highly combustible materials.

Javed Khan, Fire Services Minister said that the hospital didn't have proper fire-fighting equipments.

AMRI Hospital has announced Rs 5 lakh compensation to the victims while Mamata promised Rs 3 lakh to the family of the victims who doesn't belong to the well-to-do family. She offered that if anybody appeals for a government job, that will also be looked into. Moreover Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sanctioned an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to next of kin and a compensation of Rs 50,000 for those injured in the fire.

The photos of unidentified victims will be displayed outside the SSKM hospital and autopsies have been completed on 36 bodies, out of which 12 have been identified, Mamata said.

"Around 4 am when I had gone to the toilet I heard nurses saying that a portion of the building has caught fire. But they did not help me. Finally along with some other patients I came near a window. Then the fire brigade personnel came and rescued me by breaking open the glass windows," said a patient.

"There was smoke. I helped many of the patients come out of their wards. But it is my misfortune that I could not bring out two seriously ill patients," said another patient.

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