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Many killed in fire at hospital in eastern India

18 October 2016

At least 21 died and many were injured after a devastating fire broke out at SUM hospital in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, on October 17. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted after the incident: "Deeply anguished by the loss of lives in the hospital fire in Odisha. The tragedy is mind-numbing. My thoughts are with bereaved families."

SUM Hospital,Bhubaneswar, Odisha - Image: Wikimapia
SUM Hospital,Bhubaneswar, Odisha - Image: Wikimapia

According to the Times of India, fire service sources said the fire originated in the dialysis ward in the second floor of the hospital, a leading private healthcare institute. A fire services spokesman said initial suspicions were that the fire started after an electric short circuit in the dialysis ward.

Because of the intensity of the fire, rescuers could not use the staircase and dropped patients out of windows tied up in their own clothes. At least ten fire tenders and 120 firefighters were mobilised to douse the inferno.

The state government has formed a three-member committee to probe the incident.

On October 18, four officials, including the superintendent of the hospital, were arrested and four other employees suspended. The arrests were made shortly after the Odisha government filed negligence in conduct and safety charges against SUM Hospital. The Hindustan Times said the owner of the hospital had gone on the run.

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