Virar Hospital Fire: AC Unit Which Caught Fire Repaired Day Before

CCTV footage shows that around 3 AM is when the first sparks from the AC unit started emanating.

2 min read
The charred ICU unit of the Vijay Vallabh Hospital in Virar which caught fire due to a malfunctioning AC unit.

Thirteen people died after an intensive care unit (ICU) of Vijay Vallabh Hospital in Virar caught fire on Friday, 23 April, as sparks emanated from an air-conditioner (AC) unit which was repaired just the day before the fire, reported The Indian Express.

According to hospital authorities, patients had been complaining about the air conditioner unit not functioning properly on Thursday, 22 April, following which a technician was called to inspect the AC unit. On inspecting it that evening, the technician “did not report any major fault in the AC”.

CCTV Shows Explosion

CCTV footage submitted to the police shows that around 3 AM is when the first sparks from the cassette AC unit fell on a table where a female nurse was sitting beside it.

“She got up, saw more sparks and immediately jumped over a bench towards the exit. The second nurse followed. The female nurse said she had rushed to alert the ward boy and bring help,” reported The Indian Express, quoting Dr Shailesh Pathak, Chief Administrative Officer of the hospital.

According to hospital officials, two patients on the second floor ICU wards were awake and rushed out to the exit on their own. The hospital staff managed to pull two more patients from the floor in the nick of time.

The CCTV footage shows that 12-15 seconds after the sparks began, an explosion rocked the ICU. Thirteen patients present in the ward were unable to get out and the entire ICU unit burnt down.

“One ward boy became breathless, but still helped patients get out from the ICU. All patients were on high oxygen flow, some on BiPAP machine. We believe the oxygen further fuelled the fire,” reported The Indian Express, quoting Prestine George.

“On our way to the hospital, we began calling all ambulances in Vasai, Virar, Nallasopara and Palghar. Those who needed oxygen and ICU support were shifted first. After that people who were weak and had moderate symptoms were moved,” reported ANI, quoting Dr Dilip Shah of the Vijay Vallabh hospital.

The hospital reception alerted the hospital authorities after 3:10 am. Officials said they called the local police and the fire brigade which reached the spot within 10 minutes. The fire was contained within the ICU on second floor.

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