Vadodara: It has been over six months since fire broke out in the Covid-19 ward of SSG Hospital and yet, the authorities are yet to wake up from their stupor. No action has been taken against designated Covid hospitals that are operating without no-objection certificate of the fire department.
The fire at Vijay Vallabh Sarvajanik Hospital on Mandvi-Panigate road on Wednesday night should serve as a final wake-up call as many hospitals continue to operate without proper fire-fighting equipment and NOC especially at a time when coronavirus cases are peaking again.
Reliable sources in Vadodara Fire and Emergency Services said that the department is not allowed to take any action against hospitals, especially if they are Covid-designated and do not have fire NOC. Vijay Vallabh Hospital too does not have NOC and was “in the process to install all fire-fighting equipment”. However, fire already broke out in the server room and spread in the building.
“The administration has given permissions to the hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients without going into the details whether the hospitals are equipped or not. If any untoward incident will take place in future, we will be held responsible,” said the source. At least 10 hospitals treating Covid patients do not have NOC, the source added.
All attempts by TOI to contact municipal commissioner P Swaroop and chief fire officer Parth Brahmbhatt went in vain.
On Wednesday night, panic gripped the area as fire broke out in the Vijay Vallabh Hospital and amid the chaos, nearly 25 patients, including 17 Covid infected, could be safely evacuated by the locals and firemen as the fire engulfed the four-storey hospital. Covid patients had to be sent to SSG Hospital in whichever vehicles that were available at that moment.