A three-month-old infant died in Hyderabad after a fire broke out at the city’s Shine Children's Hospital, located in LB Nagar early on Monday morning. Four other infants who were in the neonatal ICU (NICU) of the paediatric hospital are said to be critical and have been shifted to nearby hospitals, officials said.
Officials of the Telangana State Disaster Response and Fire Services Department said they received an alert about a small fire on the third floor of the hospital at 2:59 am. An estimated 48 patients were admitted to the hospital, who have since then been shifted out.
“The fire broke out due to a short circuit in the air conditioning unit inside the NICU,” said a fire department official. According to him, none of the fire safety equipment in the hospital was functional.
“The room didn't even have a smoke detector or a fire alarm. Even the hospital staff were not trained to handle the situation,” the officer added.
The hospital has been running since 2000 and is located right opposite the LB Nagar police station, and falls under the Rachakonda commissionerate.
“By the time the fire department arrived, the building had been evacuated by the LB Nagar police. It was a small fire that the staff could have put out but as it was an AC room, the staff did not know how to open the vent to let the smoke out. The booster pumps at the hospital were not functioning and nor did anyone know how to operate it,” the fire official said.
Fire department officials said that as per the fire safety norms, the responsibility of enforcing norms in buildings with a height of less than 15 meters is with the local municipality. The Shine Hospital is less than 15 meters, and the responsibility of ensuring that the fire safety equipment was functional is with the GHMC, the fire safety official added.
Representatives of the hospital refused to comment.
(This is a developing story)