Two persons were killed and several were injured after a fire broke out at the government medical college hospital in Murshidabad district of West Bengal today morning. Several patients are feared to be trapped inside the hospital.
"A fire broke out in the hospital. Two causalities were reported. Fire has been brought under control. There is no need for panic", Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) S Saha said.
The fire was first noticed at the male surgical ward on the second floor of the hospital. It soon spread to the pediatric ward on the floor above.
Many patients broke windows to escape from the hospital. Two fire tenders were rushed to the spot to douse the fire.
Smoke engulfed the entire hospital and screams of patients rent the air. Panic-stricken patients ran for their safety, creating a near stampede.
Newborns in the Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) were brought out of the hospital premises and kept on the lawns as their parents and hospital staff attended to them.
The two women were killed in the stampede and smoke inhalation, according to initial reports.
According to reports, the fire was caused due to a short-circuit in the medicine department of the hospital.
Initial reports suggested that the main exit gate of emergency was locked and the patients and hospital staff could not come out of the building after the fire broke out.
The fire was contained after almost three hours. Many patients are lying in the open with relatives holding saline bottles; some have been put up in in other wards.
Eyewitnesses said there was virtually no disaster management apparatus present in the hospital.
Some locals climbed up trees to break windows of the hospital and rescue patients. Three fire engines were rushed to the spot.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has ordered an investigation into the reasons behind the incident.