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The worst ever hospital fire that broke out in AMRI Hospital , Kolkata on Friday (December 9, 2011) claimed the lives of more than a 100 people. The government is busy with the blame game yet again. Here, we would like to salute those who helped save the lives so many more that night.
As the midnight horror engulfed Kolkata’s AMRI hospital the first hand of help came from people living in a slum next door. Braving the fire and smoke they were the first people to reach out to patients who were struggling to escape.
– IBN Live
Many carried out patients not caring about their own safety. A patient who had been operated at 9 pm was bleeding but safely rescued from the fire by a slum dweller.These heroes also commend the nurses who stayed back to help them.
Lending a hand to the helpless, they showed rare courage in a dangerous situation without regard to personal safety. Ask them if they would do it again, the answer is an overwhelming yes.
Sachidanand Barman was attending to a patient in the ICCU when he realized the fire has broken out. With one male and two female nurses, he saved eight patients, sadly a ninth one could not be rescued as the fire grew.
“Using mobile flash lights and bed sheets we carried the patients one by one outside to safety. We would come out in the verandah to take fresh air and again get back in. It was difficult for me to continue but the nurses egged me on to rescue the patients,” said Barman.
Barman said that the nursing assistants had made a sort of rope using bed sheets, by which the patients were lowered down the window from where the rescuers took them away to safety.
“We forced our way in and entered the basement. It was completely covered with dense smoke. The fire was smouldering in different corners. It was clear that hospital personnel had made a long but futile attempt to douse the fire,” said a Gariahat fire station officer, who was the first to reach the site after receiving a call at 4.10am
The rescued patients will perhaps never know the faces behind the black hoods, perhaps their guardian angels.
The team of 35 Kolkata police commandos were heading to Jadavpur Kishore Bharati stadium for the raising day parade when they received a call from inspector Krishnendu Pal to head for AMRI hospital in Dhakuria and join the rescue efforts.
Inspector Pal instructed the group of 35 to break into teams of 5. Four such teams, he instructed, would go inside first and bring the patients out. The rest would wait. When the first teams would come out for fresh air, the three other groups would go in. It was almost like a relay race.
At the third and fourth floors luckily Swapan Kumar Ray, a commercial department employee of the hospital, helped them through the maze of cardiology and neurology wards and VIP suites on the third floor. It was here that the team realized the extent of the tragedy when they saw patients gasping for breath. The worst, however, was yet to come.
When Ray finally led the team to the fourth floor, the commandos faced their toughest challenge. The special-care units housed on this floor had perhapsthe most number of casualties. The drips, monitors, equipment wired to the patients made the rescue slow. These had to be unplugged first. By then most had stopped breathing.
At 9:25am, three hours after they had entered the building, the last group of commandos stepped out, wheeling the last body. “We have scanned the floor Sir, there are no more,” Pal told Debashish Ray, additional commissioner of police. Pachnanda stood barely meters away. “Good job, boys,” said the commissioner. The team was yearning for open air and water. For the latter, they didn’t have to wait for a moment more. Neighbors cramping the adjoining high-rises flung water bottles at them
The killer hooch claimed over 50 lives on Thursday morning in Diamond Harbour sub-divisional hospital, MR Bangur Hospital and at National Medical college and hospital in Kolkata where all the victims were taken for treatment since Wednesday.
Most of the dead were poor labourers, rickshaw-pullers and hawkers, who fell ill after consuming the spurious liquor from several illegal joints since Tuesday night, police said.
The victims mostly complained of stomach pain, vomiting, chest pain and bodyache, doctors said.
Postmortem of 107 bodies has been done and the bodies handed over to the families, police said.
Diamond Harbour and MR Bangur hospitals were crowded with hundreds of relatives of the victims and doctors attending to as many patients as possible.