United Hospital admits lapses over fire response

Staff Correspondent | Published: 01:10, May 31,2020


The United Hospital authorities have admitted to the fire service that there were lapses in firefighting and rescue efforts during the blaze that razed the hospital’s COVID-19 isolation unit and killed five patients there.

The hospital authorities admitted that they did not respond properly said the fire service probe team.

There were fire extinguishers, but the hospital personnel did not use those.

‘There were no proper fire exit points at the isolation unit and the hospital staff did not use fire extinguishers to douse the blaze immediately,’ the fire service official said.

The fire service were not immediately contacted, but once the team was there the members used the extinguishers, according to fire service director (operation) lieutenant colonel Zillur Rahman, who is also leader of the probe team.

The fire service probe team visited the hospital on Saturday and recorded statements of the hospital authorities and witnesses of the fire incident.

Probe team leader Zillur Rahman told New Age that the hospital’s doctors, nurse and other staff admitted that they failed to respond to the fire incident after the accidental spark in the air-conditioner of the unit.

He said that the unit was made of plywood and there was flammable false ceiling, which lead to the quick spread of fire at the hospital, the director said.

Fire Service officials said that the hospital extended the isolation unit without authorisation and had poor safety measures that helped the fire to spread across the unit rapidly, the government concerned agencies said.

The blaze on Wednesday night killed five patients in COVID-19 isolation unit, three of whom were confirmed COVID-19 patients.

Zillur Rahman said that all five patients undergoing treatment at the unit were on oxygen support and were not in a situation to quickly flee the blaze.

The probe team members said that none of the hospital doctors, medical staff or security personnel came forward to assist the patients during the blaze.

United Hospital has also formed an internal investigation committee after the incident with personnel from security, human resources department and clinical management as its mebers.

Shagufa Anwar, chief of communication and business development at the hospital, told New Age that they were carrying out internal investigation and was keenly supporting the fire service probe team. 

She said that they will share their findings with the fire service.  

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