A major fire broke out in a multi-specialty hospital in Kolkata, sometime between 3 and 4 a.m. on Friday morning. Official reports suggest approximately 73 people were killed and another 95 injured.
The fire, which broke out at the AMRI Hospital in Dhakuria, in the southern part of the city, took 25 fire tenders to combat. Reports suggest that rescue efforts, aimed at reaching patients still trapped inside, are ongoing. The fire itself, though, has reportedly been put out, although no details on its cause have been revealed. There are some suggestions, though.
"The basement is full of combustible material. It was a space for keeping cars. The way it has been maintained is irresponsible. The departmental engineers have been asked to inspect. The authorities should have followed the norms," explained Javed Khan, Fire Services Minister, in a report by The Times of India.
The tragic incident had an equally tragic aftermath; floods of relatives descended on the hospital's premises, accusing the authorities of failing to provide adequate safety measures and allowing the patients to die from the toxic fumes emanating from the fire.
There has been an outpouring of support from government authorities in the wake of the incident, with the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister and hospital authorities themselves announcing lakhs of rupees each as compensation, for families of those who died in the fire. In addition, the Chief Minister has cancelled the registration of the hospital.
Finally, a report by CNN IBN Live indicates that R.S. Goenka and S.K. Todi, the owners of the hospital, have surrendered to the police, at the Lal Bazar Police Station.
Check out some photographs of the fire: