At least 89 people lost their lives in a fire that started in a hospital’s basement in the city of Kolkata in India’s West Bengal state, local media reported. The fire killed a doctor and two attendants, while all other victims were patients, many of them bed-ridden, the authorities said.
India’s authorities have arrested six hospital managers who are accused of negligence, the West Bengal Fire and Emergency Services Minister Javed Ahmed Khan said. Most of the victims were killed after inhaling smoke caused by the fire, which started at about 4 A.M. local time. The state authorities revoked the hospital’s license after finding serious violations of the safety norms. The hospital managers deny there were any violations of the safety measures.
Families of those who lost their lives in the fire will be compensated with about $4,000, said Satyabrata Upadhyay, senior vice president of the AMRI hospital company.
Other top officials, however, pointed at the fact that virtually all senior hospital authorities left the building after the start of the fire, leaving their patients at their own. Rescue workers managed to save numerous lives by taking patients on stretchers and in wheelchairs to a hospital located nearby.