Knowledge base for Pharmacy Industry

Warnings on earlier sparks fell on deaf ears: Pharmacists

TNN | Oct 5, 2018, 11:30 IST 

KOLKATA: There were multiple instances when sparks were spotted in the at the pharmacy that caught fire on Wednesday. But the repeated warnings from were ignored. There was another instance in which an LPG cylinder nozzle had caught fire in the hospital. Fortuitously, someone acted promptly to prevent the fire from spreading. Speaking to TOI a day after the fire at the pharmacy in MCH Building of Medical College and Hospital Kolkata, pharmacists said they had spotted sparks in the wiring of the exhaust fan on multiple occasions and alerted both the Rogi Kalyan Samity — a patient welfare committee — and the PWD. But the warnings fell on deaf ears and the problem was never attended. Sources said after the sparks were seen, it was reported to the PWD team at the hospital. “When the problem remained unattended after multiple complaints, the issue was even taken up at the Rogi Kalyan Samity meeting in August. Since then, there have been at least three times that sparks were spotted,” said a pharmacist. If these were sparks, a fire was doused in the nick of time by a PWD assistant engineer who happened to be in the right place at the right time. According to the source, fire from a stove had spread to a gas cylinder nozzle and could have led to an explosion and a huge fire and possibly many casualties but for the prompt action of the PWD official.

“The incident happened in a really crowded section of the hospital near the pump room. The assistant engineer happened to be passing that way when he saw the fire. The engineer rushed to get a fire extinguisher and doused the fire in half a minute,” the source recounted. Though smoking is banned on hospital premises, another source recounted that Group D staff as well as patient relatives often take smoke breaks behind buildings where discarded packets and boxes are dumped. Allowing cigarette butt or even a matchstick can light fire that can spread to the building.

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