Madhya Pradesh: Massive fire breaks out in Jabalpur hospital; 8 dead, several injured

New Delhi, Aug 01: A massive fire broke out in a private hospital in Madhya Pradesh's Jabalpur district on Monday and eight people were killed while several people were injured in the incident.

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"It was a massive fire, and our teams rescued all the people trapped inside the hospital. A short circuit could be the reason for the fire," ANI quoted Akhilesh Gaur, CSP Jabalpur, in a tweet.

The private hospital, which came up just last year during the coronavirus pandemic, was busy attending to its patients when power tripped around 2.30 pm Monday, and then all hell broke loose. While the power system was switching to the backup, something went wrong -- possibly an electrical short circuit - and that ignited the inferno at New Life Multi-speciality Hospital near Damoh Naka under the Gohalpur police station area of Jabalpur, and eight lives were lost in no time, PTI reported.

Four patients and three staffers of the hospital, housed in a ground plus three-storey building, were among the deceased, while five others were injured in the massive fire.

Preliminary investigations suggest an electric short circuit caused the fire after a power outage while the system was switching over to the generator around 2.30 pm, Jabalpur Superintendent of Police (SP) Siddharth Bahuguna told reporters.

Flames started from the ground floor, moved upwards and then engulfed the entire building. On noticing the flames, people outside the hospital immediately rang up authorities and informed them about the blaze.

Inside the 30-bed hospital, which had seven patients at the time of the tragedy, staffers and caregivers screamed for help. Many could not escape in time as the hospital had only one exit, eyewitnesses said.

Chandan Singh, who lost his relative Durgesh Singh, told PTI that he admitted the latter just an hour before the fire broke out. "Durgesh Singh had sustained injury to his leg and I got him admitted to the hospital. Just when I stepped out of the building to buy medicines I got to know about the blaze," Chandan Singh added.

"I rushed back up find the building in flames. I manged to enter the building which was cordoned off. The scene was chaotic outside the hospital. Later, I was informed that Durgesh was no more. I cursed myself for bringing him to the hospital," said Chandan Singh in a choked voice with his eyes welled up.

Jabalpur Chief Medical and Health Officer Dr Ratnesh Kuraria said the hospital started functioning on January 5, 2021, during the COVID-19 outbreak. He said the private medical facility had two entries an exits - one for outdoor patients and the other for going upstairs.

Dr Kuraria said the hospital had all relevant documents in place - no objection certificate from the fire department, clearance of pollution control and building permission. "We have visited the hospital and further proceedings are on", he added. Jabalpur Collector Dr Ilayaraja T said four patients, a caregiver and three staffers of the facility died in the fire.

Of the five injured, he said, two were in critical condition and admitted to the ICU of the government medical college in Jabalpur. The Collector said there were 20 to 25 people in the hospital when the blaze started. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan expressed grief over the tragedy and announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the family of the deceased and Rs 50,000 per injured person.

Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan expressed his grief over the loss of lives in the incident and announced ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the next of kin of four people who lost their lives in the fire incident at Jabalpur Hospital.

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"The state government will provide assistance of Rs. 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50 thousand to the seriously injured. The government will also bear the cost of complete treatment of the injured," the CM said. He continued, "In this hour of grief, the bereaved family should not consider themselves alone, I and the entire Madhya Pradesh are with the family."

Chouhan claimed that he was in constant touch with the local administration. "In this hour of grief, the bereaved family should not consider themselves alone, I and entire Madhya Pradesh are with the family," Chouhan further stated.

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