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Bhubaneswar fire: Families of deceased blame administration, survivors thank their luck

A 26-year-old patient who was undergoing dialysis at the Sum Hospital on Monday evening, is a happy man today as he survived the devastating fire which killed at least 20 people. Baina Behera, a resident of Mangalpur village under Pipili police station area in Puri district, said he was really lucky to have escaped the thick smoke and fire that engulfed the hospital while about a dozen others waited till being evacuated.

“The fire broke out when I was undergoing dialysis. I asked the doctor to stop it. I broke the window pane and went down with the help of a water pipe. A technician also followed me and came down from the first floor dialysis unit by using the same water pipe,” Behera said.

Behera’s brother Babuli, who was also present at the dialysis unit during the fire mishap, jumped from the first floor and escaped. The nurse at the dialysis unit, however, said she continued to remain till all the people were evacuated safely.

“I along with other nurses at the nearby medicine ICU ensured that all the patients get shifted. It was smoke and fire everywhere,” the shocked nurse said, adding that she too required to overcome the trauma.

Badrinath Nanda, whose father (Pradumnya Nanda-73) has been shifted to the Capital Hospital after the fire incident, said he was asked by the Sum Hospital staff to take away the patient. “How could I have taken my father out alone. My father has been suffering from paralysis. It took about one hour to shift my father from Sum Hospital,” Badrinath said. Like Nanda, many others complained that their patients could have been alive today had there been prompt and proper evacuation.

Tribeni Nayak (65), wife of Raghunath Nayak of Sastri Nagar in Ganjam district, was about to be discharged from the Sum Hospital on Tuesday. “We were supposed to take back her today as her condition had improved. But, we are now told to take her body,” said one of her relatives. Similar was the case of Padmini Dehury of Kenojhar.

“Her condition had improved a lot and we were supposed to take her back home today. But, the we are taking back her body,” said her father Umakanta Dehury.

Anil Patra of Khurda, whose mother Rajani Patra (46) died in the fire, blamed it on the mismanagement in evacuation. “The hospital staff and security personnel who were supposed to ensure a smooth evacuation had no coordination leading to a chaotic situation. This delayed the process. As a result, people died,” Anil said.

P Saroj of Ganjam district said that he had to search his mother Kalyani (76) in four nearby hospitals before finding her lying dead at AMRI hospital.

“I was almost mad to find my mother and ran helter and skelter in different hospitals to locate her. My mother had almost recovered. The doctors had said she would be discharged in two-days,” Saroj said.

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