A massive fire in Andheri’s ESIC Hospital on Monday killed six and seriously injured 14. About 157 people were rescued from the building by the fire brigade in a three-hour operation, that also saw three firemen being injured.
The Employees State Insurance Scheme Hospital, locally known as Kamgar Hospital, in Andheri East’s Marol area is a ground plus five storey building.
Initial reports said the fire broke out on the fourth floor around 4 pm. The fire brigade, on its arrival at 4-20 pm, declared it a medium (level III) fire. By 5 pm, it had become a major call (level IV). Ten fire engines, six jumbo tankers and three turntable ladders were deployed to fight the blaze.
Panic and chaos
Two ladders of 37m each and one of 30m were used to rescue people trapped on the upper floors. The entire building was filled with smoke, causing panic and chaos. The fire brigade rescued at least 157 doctors, staffers and patients from the building through the staircase and a common passage connected to an adjacent under-construction building and using ladders. Six water lines were pressed into service. The fire was finally extinguished at 7.35 pm.
The injured were moved to various hospitals across the city. BMC had alerted all hospitals to be prepared. At BMC-run Cooper hospital, 23 were brought in, of whom two were brought dead. Three more are in a critical condition.
Thirty-three were taken to Jogeshwari’s Thackeray Trauma Care hospital, of whom 10 were discharged. Around 48 were taken to Holy Spirit hospital in Andheri east. One of them was brought dead. Of the 51 taken to Seven Hills hospital, three died and nine were critical. Three were discharged. Of the three taken to Hiranandani Hospital in Powai, two are in the ICU and one was discharged. Two were admitted to Siddharth Hospital in Goregaon.
Smoke fills upper floors
“The hospital was undertaking some work in its annex building and a lot of rubber sheets were stored in the main building’s ground floor. The sheets caught fire, resulting in a large amount of smoke. The third and fourth floors were the most affected, but there was no fire. The fire fighting equipment was not functional,” said deputy chief fire officer (technical) R.A. Chaudhari. The hospital falls under MIDC and its fire brigade is required to check compliance of fire fighting norms.
“The biggest challenge was the bed ridden patients. We saved as many as we could. The glass facade was broken in several places to let out smoke,” Mr. Chaudhari said.