A major fire broke out at the teaching block of the AIIMS in New Delhi on Saturday, destroying samples and medical reports and forcing evacuation of some patients, though no one was injured, officials said. The fire had spread to the 5th floor of the hospital as fire fighters struggled to douse the flames. The fire due to a short circuit forced authorities to temporarily shut down the emergency ward of the hospital.
Earlier, it was claimed that fire had been extinguished but later reports said that the flames had reached the 5th floor of the hospital. The Microbiology department's virology unit on the second floor of the teaching block has been completely gutted in the fire while samples and medical reports were also destroyed.
Former finance minister Arun Jaitley is also admitted in the hospital but the hospital athorities said that he was housed in a different building of the hospital and was completely unaffected by the fire.
However, several other patients from the AB ward, close to the Microbiology department, where the fire had started at 5 pm in the evening, were evacuated along with those in operation theatres above it as the smoke spread.
Visuals of fire at the 5th floor of AIIMS Hospital in Delhi
Sources said the fire spread to the Emergency Lab in the department of Lab Medicine, which is adjacent to the Microbiology department's virology unit, where electricity work was going on for some time and cables and wires being used were kept.
The fire moved downward to the first floor -- and also upward to the third and the fourth floor of the building. Later, the flames also reached the fifth floor. Teams of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) also reached the spot to assist in fire-fighting and rescue operation.
Meanwhile, the hospital has issued a helpline number – 011-26593308 – to obtain information regarding patients admitted in the AB Wing. AIIMS Delhi is one of India's most premier state-run hospitals and the fire incident has raised several questions about the fire safety measures being taken by the hospital.