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Trustee booked in Ahmedabad hospital fire case

A day after the Gujarat government announced a judicial inquiry by a retired High Court judge into the fire incident in Shrey Hospital in which eight COVID-19 patients were killed, the Ahmedabad police on Tuesday booked the managing trustee of the hospital.

The police registered a case of alleged negligence against its main administrator.

No fire alarm system

The First Information Report (FIR) said the hospital had no fire alarm system, no fire audit had been done, and the staff had no training in fire-fighting while the hospital did not even obtain NOC from the civic body for the fire safety system.

The fire broke out at the ICU ward of the Shrey Hospital in the wee hours of August 6 in which eight patients lost their lives while they were undergoing COVID-19 treatment in the hospital which was designated as a COVID-19 hospital by the civic body.

After the incident, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had asked the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) and the Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the fire and submit a report within three days.

On Monday, Junior Home Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja said the report was submitted and as per the recommendation, the State government had decided to set up a judicial commission to inquire into the incident.

Subsequently, an FIR under IPC Section 304 (A) (causing death by negligence or rash act) was registered against the hospital’s main administrator, Bharat Mahant (57).

He has not been arrested yet, said Assistant Commissioner of Police L.B. Zala.

Shrey Hospital was one of the 60-odd private hospitals authorised by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to treat coronavirus patients.

Short circuit

As per the FIR, the fire started in the fourth-floor ICU ward around 3 a.m. due to a short circuit. While some of the patients died of burn injuries, others died due to suffocation, it said.

There had been no fire safety audit of the hospital prior to the incident which amounted to “grave negligence” on the part of the accused, the FIR said.

Nor was there any fire alarm system; and though there were fire extinguishers in the ward, they were not used because the staff had not been given training in fire-fighting and emergency rescue, the FIR alleged.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2020 6:34:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/trustee-booked-in-ahmedabad-hospital-fire-case/article32330414.ece

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