The fire that broke out in a wing of the Alappuzha General Hospital on Monday night could have been an attempt to destroy records or junk that were kept in a room, from where other equipment were shifted to the Medical College Hospital premises the same day.
Continuing investigations into the incident showed that the floor of a room, where a pharmacy was functioning earlier, was burnt badly. The plastering on the wall of the room, adjacent to where the floor was burnt, along with the door of the room, was also damaged. This is the only room where the floor, door or walls have suffered that type of damage, with the damage in the rest of the building being to the roof.
The pharmacy is also where the fire was first sighted.
According to official sources, indications are that an attempt to burn a few records and other junk that were kept in the room could have gone out of hand and escalated into a major fire. However, investigators are still probing this angle.
Interestingly, Monday’s fire was not the first in the same building. Four days back, garbage and other medical waste outside the building had caught fire twice. According to hospital staff, though the municipality was asked to clear the waste, nothing was done and the waste, allegedly without the knowledge of the authorities, was set fire to.
Meanwhile, K.C. Venugopal, MP, and A.A. Shukoor, MLA, who visited the damaged building on Wednesday, have demanded a Crime Branch probe into the incident. Pointing out that there were more than enough indications that the fire was not a “mere accident”, particularly because a vacant room of the building was allegedly occupied by anti-social elements, the MP and the MLA said the fire had to be taken seriously and proper action initiated.
“There have been complaints earlier that anti-social elements were eyeing this building for their activities,” Mr. Shukoor said.
Mr. Venugopal said the hospital management should immediately decide on utilizing the rooms that fell empty after equipment there was shifted to the MCH.