Over 100 patients were safely evacuated after a fire broke out at a dedicated COVID-19 hospital at Jagatpur on the outskirts of Cuttack on Monday.

The incident took place just after noon at Sadguru Hospital, which has been declared a special COVID-19 hospital by the Cuttack administration. While the hospital has a total of 152 beds, 127 beds, including 20 intensive care unit (ICU) beds, were occupied.

“All the patients were rescued safely and they were immediately shifted to the nearby COVID facilities,” said Cuttack District Collector Bhabani Shankar Chayani.

“All the critical patients in the ICU were rescued first,” Mr. Chayani added.

“The fire originated due to short circuit in an air-conditioner unit in the second floor. Since the room was closed, it got filled with smoke. People felt suffocated. The smoke moved upward and affected patients admitted in the third and fourth floor. Fortunately, the sprinkler system worked in the hospital and situation was brought under control,” said Sukanta Sethi, Odisha’s Chief Fire Officer.

He added that the fire was brought under control within 10 minutes of the arrival of at least five fire tenders. As many as 42 fire fighters were engaged in the evacuation of patients and all of them were sent to home isolation as they had come into contact with active patients.

The condition of some patients was stated to be serious. “My father Anadi Charan Rout was being treated in Sadguru Hospital. Due to the fire, he was shifted to the COVID Care Centre at the DRIEMS College. His condition is critical and he should be immediately referred to a hospital with ICU facility,” said Sandip Kumar Rout.

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