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AIIMS fire doused, no casualties, several patient records gutted

By Vishal S

New Delhi, Aug 17: A massive fire broke out at Delhi's premier hospital All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Saturday. The fire has been doused now. A fire department official said there was no casualty in the blaze.

The fire broke out near the the Microbiology department of AIIMS, one of the biggest hospitals in Delhi. Former union minister Arun Jaitley is admitted in AIIMS.

Fire fighting operations went on for close to 5 hours

"There was a fire in the Teaching Block at AIIMS around 5:00 pm today. Delhi Fire Services along with AIIMS fire division have controlled the fire and are still on the job. There has been no loss or damage to life," reports quoted an AIIMS statement as saying.

"As a precautionary measure, the patients admitted in adjoining AB Wing have been shifted out to the other wings of the hospital temporarily. The situation is being monitored closely by Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan," it further said.

Patients from some floors of the AB ward, close to the Microbiology department where the blaze started at around 5 pm, were evacuated along with those in operation theatres above it as the smoke spread, they said, adding the fire was doused within two hours.

A Delhi Fire Services Department (DFS) official said 22 fire tenders were rushed to the site after they received a call. The Microbiology department's virology unit on the second floor of the teaching block has been completely gutted, sources said. Former finance minister Arun Jaitley is admitted at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the cardio-neuro centre, housed in a different building in the complex.

Several prominent leaders have been visiting the hospital for the past few days to enquire about his health. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, "I appeal to everyone to maintain calm and allow the Fire Services personnel to do their work."

Dark plumes of smoke and flames were seen billowing out from the affected building of the premier health institute. Sources said the fire spread to the Emergency Lab in the department of Lab Medicine, which is adjacent to the Microbiology department's virology unit, where electricity work was going on for some time and cable and wire being used were kept, they said. The fire moved downward to the first floor -- and also upward to the third and the fourth floor of the building, they said. Some parts of the fifth floor was also affected, they added.

"The fire was brought under control within two hours," said a fire department official, as per a PTI report.

Patients' samples come to the virology unit and Lab Medicine department for testing. Sources said it is suspected that a large number of samples and patient records have been destroyed as the virology unit has been completely gutted.

However, there was no casualties and the cooling process is underway, a fire department official said.

AIIMS is a premier institute which has a large building. Aparently, former Union Minister Arun Jaitley is admitted in AIIMS. Jaitley is admitted at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the cardio-neuro centre, housed in a different building in the complex.

[Delhi: Fire breaks out in BoB office and AIIMS]

On Mar 24, a fire had broken out in the AIIMS in South Delhi. The fire had broken out in the Trauma Center. The fire was later brought under control.

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