Kolkata: A huge envelope of smoke had engulfed the entire hospital and screams of patients rent the air. Panic-stricken patients ran for their safety creating a near stampede at the hospital.
New borns admitted in the Sick newborn care unit (SNCU) were also brought out of the hospital premises. It was a sorry sight as the children born only few days before being kept on the ground as their parents and other hospital staff tried to give them care at the hospital lawns.
Eyewitnesses said that there was virtually no disaster management apparatus present in the hospital resulting in the panic. The local people climbed atop the nearby trees and reached the third floor of the hospital to rescue the trapped people.
According to authorities, three nursing staff and a child died due to suffocation and asphyxiation.
Initial reports suggested that the main exit gate of emergency was locked and the patients and hospital staff could not come out of the hospital building after fire.
“No patients have sustained injury. We are trying to bring back the newborns in SNCU,” R S Shukla, principal secretary State Health Department told presspersons.
He said that a team from State Health Department is on the way to the hospital. Mr. Shukla said that situation would be soon brought under control.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has ordered a probe and is personally monitoring the situation. The state government has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakhs to the families of the deceased.