Mumbai fire: Six dead, 120 hurt in Marol hospital fire

Updated: Dec 18, 2018, 19:12 IST | Arita Sarkar

ESIC Hospital, from where 147 were saved, had no fire NoC, or occupation certificate

Mumbai fire: Six dead, 120 hurt in Marol hospital fire
Rescuers evacuate an injured woman.

A fire at the ESIC hospital in Marol has claimed six lives and left more than 30 injured. The building had neither a fire NOC nor occupation certificate. Fire officials said 147 people were rescued from the hospital, which includes patients as well as staff members.

Eyewitnesses who were trying to help those trapped said at least three women and two men had jumped from the fourth floor to escape the fire. Fire brigade officials said the fire started on the ground floor and the smoke travelled to the higher floors through the fire duct.

"The heat was the worst on the third and fourth floors Nitrile rubber rolls used for insulation were stored on the ground floor and were the cause of so much smoke. The people who were trapped upstairs suffocated. Apart from adults, we rescued a baby and two cats as well," said the fire official. The fire which started around 4 pm took nearly three hours to douse. The hospital catered to central government employees of the Employees' State Insurance Corporation.

A baby being rushed to safety
A baby being rushed to safety

'Glass didn't let smoke escape'
He said the glass facade which was part of the new portion of the building led to people suffocating in the smoke. "The smoke wasn't able to escape because of the glass. We had to break several windows to create ventilation as part of the cooling operation," said a senior fire official. He said as the fire started during visiting hours (9am to 4 pm), many of the people they rescued were patients' relatives.

Eyewitnesses said, "We saw three women who tried to climb out of the building through the window. But they were probably weak because of illness and their hands slipped from the rope and they fell to the ground. Two men also fell and suffered head injuries," said Maruti Rakshe, a local resident who was at the spot.

As the fire started during visiting hours, many visitors were rescued alongwith patients. Pics/Sameer Markande
As the fire started during visiting hours, many visitors were rescued alongwith patients. Pics/Sameer Markande

Locals helped Fire Brigade
Another resident, Vinod Wade, who lives nearby, said local residents tried to help the fire brigade who were trying to break individual windows while standing on the turntable ladder. "The hospital wards were filled with smoke and people were trapped inside. We broke several windows till the third floor to let the smoke out using stones," he said.

Officials from the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, the planning authority of the land, said that the hospital was first constructed in 1973 and restoration work has been going on for at least eight years. "The contractor had stored some material in the ground floor which aggravated the fire. We will conduct an inquiry," said Sudhir Ambure, deputy engineer of MIDC.

'Building did not have fire NOC'
Officials from the MIDC fire department said that the building did not have fire NOC. " They had applied for the occupation certificate 15 days ago, but since they didn't have a fire NOC, their application was rejected," said V M Ogale, deputy chief fire officer with MIDC fire brigade.

When approached, Sarika Kakkad, assistant director of the hospital said the hospital had permissions for the portion that was functional. The BMC mayor, Vishwanath Mahadeshwar who visited the spot said an enquiry will be conducted into the cause of the fire. One staff member, a male nurse Kailash Dhayal said there was only one exit in the hospital. The second exit had been closed. Three firemen were injured as well.
Inputs by Rupsa Chakraborty and Pallavi Smart

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Most had breathing issues
Shobha Kamble,
Sister of Nivruti Kamble, who was undergoing treatment for jaundice
'He was earlier undergoing treatment at Holy Spirit hospital, but as it was turning out to be expensive, we shifted him to ESIC Hospital. On Monday, both his daughter and wife had gone to the hospital to see him, but they suffered injuries in the fire. They have been admitted to Cooper Hospital, while Nivruti has been taken back to Holy Spirit'

Vandhanna Sughan,
Aunt of Manush Sughan, who has been admitted to Holy Spirit
'Vishnu Sughan, who is physically challenged, was undergoing treatment at the hospital for some infection. His son Manush had gone to see him when the fire broke out. He inhaled so much of smoke that he had to be admitted to the ICU of Holy Spirit Hospital along with his father'

Dr Pankaj Nalawade,
Chief medical officer, Holy Spirit Hospital
'A total of 43 patients have been admitted to the hospital. Most of them are suffering from breathing problems. Seven patients have been admitted to the intensive care unit, and five babies, all less than a month old, are undergoing treatment at the neonatal intensive care unit'

Dr Deepak Sawant,
State health minister
'Earlier, the Central government was running the hospital but in 2004, it was handed over to the state government. Since then ESIC Corporation has been looking after it. Soon, we'll announce compensation for the deceased and injured. Though six deaths have been reported till now, two are yet to be identified'

Dr Reshma Verma,
Deputy chief medical superintendent, ESIC Hospital
'We were having a meeting on the third floor when the fire broke out. One of my colleagues called and informed me. About 163 patients were undergoing treatment in the hospital. Some of the patients were rescued from the second floor and some through the windows with the help of ladders'

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