A fire broke out on the sixth floor of the Ronald Ross Building of the state government-run SSKM super-specialty hospital on Monday morning, triggering panic among patients. No casualties were reported in the incident.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation. She hinted at possible sabotage and ordered an inquiry into the incident. She also asked state Fire and Emergency Services minister Sovan Chatterjee to permanently have two fire tenders and a sky-lift vehicle inside all state-run hospitals to tackle such incidents in the future.
Soon after the CM’s order, Director General of Fire department Sanjay Mukherjee said that there would be a permanent deployment of two fire engines at the hospital from Tuesday morning.
The fire broke out around 11.15 am on Monday at the library on the sixth floor of the Ronald Ross Building. The building also houses the burn ward, plastic surgery and cardiology department.
Hospital authorities and staff took prompt action and undertook evacuation of patients before the fire tenders arrived. 19 fire tenders were pressed into action and it took around one hour to bring the situation under control.
Electricity supply to the building was cut immediately after the fire and restored later in the day. The fire led to traffic snarl in the vicinity of the hospital.
This is the second time a fire has been reported in the SSKM hospital in two months. Earlier, a similar incident had taken place in the Ophthalmology department of the SSKM Hospital on September 23.
Sources said that more than 100 people were present in the building during the fire. Panic spread among some patients and their relatives as they saw thick smoke covering the building.
Primary investigation revealed that a short circuit in the false ceiling of the library might have caused the fire. The fire brigade and police are, however, yet to ascertain the exact cause. Sovan Chatterjee later told reporters: “Things are under control now. The fire has been put off. There are no casualties.”