“The building had no smoke detectors and we did not get to know about the fire till it had spread,” said Nitin Dubey, one of the survivors, from his hospital bed on Wednesday morning.
Mr. Dubey and 13 others, who suffered inhalation injuries, are still in a state of shock. They are being treated at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Manipal Hospital. While 10 are on ventilators, four others, including Mr. Dubey are off the lung support system. They are under treatment in the Cardiac Critical Care unit.
Relatives milling around were disappointed as entry was restricted.
“I haven't seen my daughter Mamtha since yesterday. We got to know she was trapped in the fire. She tried the stairs to exit the building, but got suffocated. By the time we came here, she was in the ICU,” said Saraswathi, who had come with her husband Jayaram. “She has been working in this building for the last five years and her office is located on the seventh floor.”
Trapped in lift
G.S. Shantaveeranna, uncle of another survivor, M.B. Dinesh, a technician with Johnson Lifts, narrated how his nephew was trapped in the elevator. “He is unable to speak and scribbled on a piece of paper for me at the ICU. He was coming down from the seventh floor. Everything was all right till he reached the fifth floor when smoke entered the lift. The door opened and as he was trying to come out of it, his leg got stuck. He screamed for help. He spoke to me on the phone half-conscious. By the time we reached, rescuers had brought him to the hospital,” said Mr. Shantaveeranna, a Police Department employee.
Medical Director of Manipal Hospital H. Sudarshan Ballal and Chief Operating Officer Nagendra Swamy told presspersons that of the 59 people admitted to the hospital, 41 had been discharged and 18 under treatment.
There were no more casualties, Dr. Ballal said, and 14 of the 18 are in the ICU. Ten are on ventilators and their condition is stable. Almost all the patients admitted in the hospital had inhalation injuries and not burns. “Most had problem breathing following inflammation of lungs, a result of smoke inhalation,” Dr. Ballal said.
He explained that following intense collection of fluid in the lungs, those trapped developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). “If they don't recover quickly, they may develop bacterial lung infection. They will have to come for follow-up only if they develop any problems. They could be in shock for some time because they have seen their friends leap to their deaths.” As many as 110 doctors, 300 nurses and several paramedical staff apart from 22 ambulances from the hospital were pressed into service for disaster management, he added.
These are the patients on ventilator support: Amit Bhatia, Rani, Basvaraj, M.B. Dinesh, Madhu, Manisha, Stephen, Arjun Menon, Mamta and Balaji Srinivas.