Three COVID-19 patients die in Dhaka Medical College fire

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Dhaka, Mar 17 (PTI) Three COVID-19 patients died in a fire at the Intensive Care Unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) here in the Bangaldeshi capital on Wednesday, according to media reports.

“The fire broke out at the COVID-19 dedicated ICU facility on the third floor of DMCH's new building at around 8 am,' Zia Rahman from the Fire Service and Civil Defence (FS&CD) headquarters told the Dhaka Tribune.

All the deceased were on ventilator support. “After being informed, five firefighting units rushed to the spot and doused the blaze. The fire had caused dense smoke inside the facility. We had to break the windows to let the smoke out and rescue the patients. Fortunately, the other ICU patients were safely evacuated,” he added.

Including the dead, there were 14 patients at the ICU facility at the time of the fire.

DMCH, Director, Md Nazmul Haque said the patients were evacuated to the critical wards in an adjoining building. “Three patients died during the evacuation,” he said.

Preliminary reports suggest that the fire either started in one of the multi-para patient monitors or a high-flow nasal cannula machine.

The FS&CD headquarters has set up a four-member team to probe the fire. The probe report will be submitted in 15 days.

Speaking to The Daily Star newspaper, Nazmul said: 'The ICU has been badly damaged. It will take time to resume operations.' Founded in 1946, the Dhaka Medical College Hospital saw a similar fire accident in its emergency department on January 7 this year. No casualties were reported in the incident.

Similarly in May last year, five people, including a woman, were killed in a major fire at the COVID-19 unit of United Hospital in Dhaka’s upscale Gulshan market area.

The coronavirus has so far claimed 8,608 lives in Bangladesh, along with 562,752 confirmed infections, according to Johns Hopkins University. PTI IND AKJ IND