Electrical short circuit in air-conditioner caused fire in intensive care unit

Three patients suffocated to death following a fire in the intensive medical care unit of Government Kilpauk Hospital here on Saturday.

An electrical short circuit in an air-conditioner in one of the inner sections of the unit reportedly caused the fire.

The victims, S. Tamil Selvi (45) of Poonamallee, Krishnaveni (72) of Kodungaiyur and K. Nandagopal (51) of Ambattur, died of asphyxiation as they inhaled the smoke while waiting on the hospital bed for help to be shifted out.

According to Medical Superintendent R. Sukumar, the condition of another male patient is critical. There were eight patients in the IMCU.

According to the patient attendants, the doctors, nurses and hospital staff did their best to remove the patients to safety.

Krishnaveni's son L. Jayakumar was agitated, but he recalled that his mother was alive when the nurses brought her out of the IMCU. “She was being administered oxygen and the nurses removed the mask so that the fire personnel could bring her out. She was alive when she was brought out of the room, but as she was being moved to the next ICU I saw her breathe her last,” he said.

Hospital authorities said the three persons died while they were being moved to the intensive coronary care unit in the cardiology block.

Tamil Selvi was admitted on Friday around 8.45 p.m. with complaints of seizure. “She could not stand up and we rushed her to the hospital last night,” said K. Mohan, her husband. Their son Manikandan stayed with her in the hospital.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has announced a relief of Rs.2 lakh to each of the victims from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund, according to a release.

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R. SujathaJune 28, 2012