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Arrested persons in AMRI fire interrogated

A patient gets treatment at the Diamond Harbour Sub-Divisional Hospital on Wednesday. Seven persons were arrested on Thursday in connection with the hooch tragedy. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury  

The eight persons arrested by the city police and remanded in police custody in connection with the devastating fire at the AMRI Hospitals, Dhakuria last week were interrogated by the police here on Thursday.

“We are interrogating the persons we have arrested and verifying their statements,” said Murli Dhar, Deputy Commissioner of police, detective Department.

Mr. Dhar said that it was likely that the six directors of AMRI Hospitals, who have been questioned so far, had been informed about the fire at various points in time on that fateful night.

Damyanti Sen, Joint Commissioner of police (crime) has said that there had been several instances of “active omission” by the hospital authorities, which have been revealed in the course of the investigation.

“We have found in one of the board meetings, most probably in November, after the hospital had given an undertaking to the fire department of September 5 (to remove hazardous materials from basement), a resolution was passed to look into the issue of safety measures,” she said on Wednesday adding that the police were trying to find out who all had received a copy of the resolution.

The police has learnt that Sajid Hussain, who was on duty that night, informed the fire brigade only at 4:10 a.m. after informing all his superiors of the incident. They have also interrogated Haradhan Chakraborty, a security guard, who was suspended after he called the fire brigade after a minor fire about two months ago.

However, Mr Dhar said that the police were still trying to establish who had ordered his suspension.

The investigations have revealed that the centrally air-conditioned building did not have a vertical fire stop which could have prevented smoke from the basement from reaching the higher floors. The police has explained that in all centrally air conditioned buildings, the maintenance shafts at every alternate floor is sealed off, by the vertical fire stop, which prevents the air from passing through and allows only electric wires and the air-conditioned duct.

Since the hospital did not have these vertical fire stops in place, the smoke from the basement speedily rose up the shaft and engulfed the upper floors. In addition the power was out so the air-conditioning failed and there was no air circulating through the building, which resulted in so many being choked to death.


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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 8:46:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Arrested-persons-in-AMRI-fire-interrogated/article13427750.ece

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