India Bhubaneswar hospital fire kills at least 20

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A patient is being shifted as rescue work is in progress after a fire broke out in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of SUM hospital in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India, 17 October 2016.

At least 20 people have died after a fire broke out in a hospital in eastern India, local police say.

They say the fire started in an intensive care unit (ICU) of the SUM hospital, a private facility in the city of Bhubaneswar in Orissa state.

Dozens of patients were taken to other medical facilities in the city.

About 120 firefighters were mobilised to tackle the blaze, which was later brought under control. PM Narendra Modi said he was “anguished” by the fire.

Eyewitnesses and hospital sources said the fire, suspected to have been caused by an electrical short circuit, was first spotted in the ICU of the medicine ward before spreading to the dialysis ward next door.

Most of the victims reportedly died from smoke inhalation.

“The fire left 20 people dead and more than 100 people injured. They have been admitted to various hospitals in Bhubaneswar and the medical college in Cuttack,” the state’s health secretary Arati Ahuja told BBC’s Sandeep Sahu.

Many of the injured are in a critical condition. Earlier reports had put the death toll at 23.

People gather outside Sum Hospital in Bhubaneswar, India. Photo: 17 October 2016The tragedy is mind-numbing,” PM Narendra Modi said on Twitter
Firefighters try to douse a fire that broke out in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of SUM hospital in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India, 17 October 2016.
Local television showed images of fire fighters smashing glass panes to enter the building

Some frightened patients and hospital employees tried to jump out of the building’s windows but were prevented from doing so by police, reports said

“Deeply anguished by the loss of lives in the hospital fire in Odisha. The tragedy is mind-numbing. My thoughts are with bereaved families,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

In 2011, 89 people died in a fire that broke out in a hospital in the eastern city of Kolkata.

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