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KGMU Fire: Fire Dept Warnings Ignored, Just One Gate Used for Exit and Entry

The most shocking information that is now surfacing is the fact that the last fire drill at Trauma Centre took place almost four years ago.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18@qazifarazahmad

Updated:July 17, 2017, 5:43 PM IST
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KGMU Fire: Fire Dept Warnings Ignored, Just One Gate Used for Exit and Entry
Representative image. (Associated Press Photo)
Lucknow: A ground plus four-storey building of King George Medical College’s Trauma Centre had just one gate for both entry and exit when patients and their relatives were running to escape the fire on Saturday evening. To add to it, the store room had no equipment or tools to douse the fire and those available were not used as the staff did not have proper training to use them.

These are some of the facts that are coming out after the fire incident at KGMU’s Trauma Centre on Saturday evening where reportedly 11 people lost their lives. The most shocking information that is now surfacing is the fact that the last fire drill at Trauma Centre took place almost four years ago.

The building is equipped with fire-fighting equipment but none of them worked when they were needed. Smoke sensors were installed in each section of the building but they all failed to work even after a thick smoke was coming out of the building.

The massive fire was brought under control after four hours with the help of 24 fire tenders. It was also learnt after the incident that the reservoir meant to supply water to many fire hydrants around the building was not connected to most of them.

Chief Fire Officer Abhay Bhan Pandey said, “The last reminder to get the fire fighting equipment checked was sent out on June 23, after a minor fire incident which took place in the faculty of dental sciences. Before that, the fire department had sent five more notices to KGMU over the past two-and-a-half years.”

The Chief Minister of UP Yogi Adityanath visited the KGMU Trauma Centre on Sunday and announced ex gratia of Rs 2 Lakh each for the family members of patients who died in the fire and has asked for a report about the patients who died during the shifting from Trauma Centre. But even after that, the KGMU administration continued to say that no one died directly or indirectly due to fire or smoke at the Trauma Centre.

The confusion still prevails over the number of casualties as official count was said to be zero against the claims of relatives of the dead and media reports which said that as many as 11 people might have died due to the fire.

Speaking to News18 KGMU VC ML Bhatt said, “Trauma Centre is a place where usually serious patients come and on an average 15 to 16 people die here every day. The fire which erupted on the second floor of Trauma Centre on Saturday evening did not claim any life. Those who died were either before or after the fire. If someone is claiming that the patient died while shifting, then that will have to be probed.”

“Two infants had died before the fire while three other patients died in the Gandhi ward as they were very serious cases,” he added. Voicing similar views, Chief Medical Superintendent, SN Shankhwar said, “All the staff of KGMU gave their best to shift and save patients from the fire. Not even a single patient died due to fire or smoke at Trauma Centre. Around 178 patients were shifted to other hospitals and departments after the fire was reported.”

Interestingly, the administration of Lucknow has accepted that that two people have died after their situation worsened due to the shifting from Trauma Centre due to fire. The District Magistrate Lucknow, Kaushal Raj Sharma said, “There were no deaths due to fire or smoke but two patients’ condition worsened after they were shifted to Gandhi ward from Taruma Centre because of the fire. The kin of two deceased will get ex gratia of Rs 2 Lakh each.” These two patients were Lakhimpur's Sadhu Rastogi (44) and Lucknow's Hemant Dhawan (38).

Soon after the patients were shifted from Trauma Centre to other places due to fire, almost six people died on the Saturday night itself, while five more died on Sunday morning. The families have alleged that some patients were shifted without oxygen mask which resulted in the death of their patients.

The five patients who died on Saturday night itself were identified as Hamirpur resident Saraswati Devi, who was said to have died on way to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, Kakori resident Waseem, Talkatora resident Arvind Kumar Gautam, Mukesh, Munnar from Bahraich, Raisa from Sultanpur and two infants.

Other included Raebearli resident Santosh, Unnao resident Devi Prasad and Lakhimpur resident Sadhu Singh along with Surendra Kumar and Rampyari who died on Sunday morning after they were shifted from Trauma Centre post the fire. Their families alleged that oxygen was not provided during shifting which eventually resulted in death of their patients.
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