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Can you send some loving thoughts and prayers to the victims of this dreadful fire?  

We're so vulnerable in a hospital.  We're there for life events that are stressful and sometimes leave us bedridden and incapacitated.  We seek out hospitals and personnel we feel we can trust with our lives.  We don't expect to be breathing toxic smoke and fighting for our last breath as we die in agony.

So far there are 89 victims of this fire in the South of Kolkata.

The timeline:

1:30 am    smoke billowing out of basement.
2:10 am    fire department called.  local residents and patients' families break into
                  grounds to attempt their own rescue.
2:40 am    fire truck arrives from station 1 km away (it did not have ladders to reach
                  upper floors).
6:00 am    fire truck with necessary ladders arrives.
6:30 am    additional forces arrive to save 50 more patients.
7:30 am    by this time all survivors had been sent to other hospitals.

Precious time was lost due to the lack of responsiveness of hospital administration.  It is reported that they called for the fire brigade late and also many hospital personnel panicked and left the building without assisting patients (up to 160).  Hospital security would not let people from the neighboring slum in to assist patients even as the patients could be heard banging on the thick windows from the upper floors.  One account of the blame for the cause of the fire was an electrical short near an area where inflammable materials were stored.  Narrow lanes and inadequate fire fighting resources nearby worsened the situation.

According to sources, the hospital staff initially played down the risk and tried to tackle the fire on their own. Residents of a nearby slum and patients' kin saw smoke billowing out of the basement around 1.30am and alerted the hospital security, who asked them not to bother.

"The guards said it wasn't a big deal and refused to react even when the smoke became denser. Soon, we could hear thumps from the upper floors and looked up to see patients banging on the sealed windows. Still, the security staff would not budge. We pleaded to be allowed into the compound so that we could rescue the patients but in vain," said Asit Haldar, one of the first to raise the alarm.

Six directors of the hospital have been arrested.

One of the patients who died in the fire had come from Agartala, the capital of the north-eastern state of Tripura.  His relatives say the hospital had charged them $7,687 (£4,886).  To pay the hospital, they said they had sold their house in Agartala.

"We've lost everything now," one of them said.  The hospital authorities announced they would waive the bills for all those affected, but it meant nothing to this family.

Video and links to photos are here at the BBC.

There are many branches of AMRI hospitals in the Kolkata area.  I believe the fire was at the second block of the AMRI Hospital just to the East of this location:

Om Santi    ...   Santi   ...   Santi

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