On Monday afternoon, 1 August, eight people, four of which were patients and three hospital staffers, succumbed to fire and smoke which engulfed the New Life Multi-speciality Hospital in Jabalpur around 2:30 pm.
Sources say that the hospital came up during COVID-19 pandemic and lacked adequate firefighting equipment.
Reportedly the hospital was functioning with an expired no objection letter regarding fire safety.
A letter by Jabalpur Municipal Corporation in December 2021 to Chief Medical and Health Officer of Jabalpur mentioned:
"Irregularities were found in many hospitals and nursing homes after inspection of fire and emergency evacuation arrangements of hospitals located under Municipal Corporation Jabalpur area."
The letter further said that despite multiple notices to hospitals and nursing homes, some of them "did not take any appropriate action" in relation to the lack of firefighting systems.
Following the massive fire outage, the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan ordered a high-level probe into the matter. The team comprising Jabalpur Division Collector B Chandrashekhar and two other members will look into the reasons for fire and whether the hospital had adequate firefighting equipment and electrical safety provisions or not.
Police personnel and locals gather at the site after a fire broke out at New Life Multi-speciality Hospital, near Damoh Naka in Jabalpur, Monday, 1 August 2022.
Police personnel and hospital staff evacuate a victim during a rescue operation after a fire broke out at New Life Multi-speciality Hospital, near Damoh Naka in Jabalpur, Monday, 1 August 2022.
Rescue operation underway after a fire broke out at New Life Multi-speciality Hospital, near Damoh Naka in Jabalpur, Monday, 1 August 2022.
"Our first priority right now is to tend to people who are suffering from the fire, the fire has been doused… but a high level probe will be conducted into the fire incident headed by Jabalpur Division Collector… the enquiry will unearth the reasons for fire and if there are any lapses or if anyone is found responsible stricter actions will be taken against them," Shivraj Singh Chauhan had said on Monday.
What Happened on Monday?
On Monday, the hospital was engulfed in fire and smoke, causing death of eight people while at least eight others incurred injuries. Two people who suffered seriously are being treated in the Intensive Care Unit.
The fire allegedly started after the hospital's electrical load was shifted to generators following a power cut. The generators, however, faulted during the load-shifting and caused the fire. People claimed that the hospital had only one exit and that too was a narrow one.
Following the incident, the chief minister ordered assistance to victims' kin and those injured and ordered a high-level inquiry into the fire.