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January 4, 2015

Blaze disrupts emergency services at Abbasi hospital


January 4, 2015

A fierce fire erupted at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH) on Saturday, damaging most of the health facilities, the main electricity cables and water tanks, the health and fire department officials of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) said.
The fire disrupted most of the emergency services, including surgeries in the gynaecology ward and the X-ray, CT scan and other lab facilities.
The third largest KMC-run hospital in the city was put on high alert and an emergency was declared at the hospital on the eve of 12th Rabi-ul-Awwal to deal with any emergency situation, but the fire turned it into an ordinary health facility, where neither any surgery could be performed in emergency nor was any diagnostic facility available.
Two fire engines were despatched to the ASH after the fire broke out in the fibre sheds, where biological and ordinary waste of the hospital was kept.
Within minutes the fire engulfed a large portion of the old building of the hospital, damaging health facilities, gutting the main electricity cables as well as the tanks that supply water to most of the wards at the hospital.
“The fire was so fierce that it caused property loss of Rs2.5 million,” said KMC Health Services Senior Director Dr Salma Kauser. “Most of the emergency health facilities have been suspended.”

MS sacked
After it was learnt that despite an emergency situation ASH Medical Superintendent (MS) Dr Muhammad Farooq had not reached the hospital, Dr Salma sacked him and directed him to report to the Human Resource Management Department of the KMC.
ASH officials said the fire started in the gynaecology ward and spread to other departments because the fire engines could not reach the hospital in time.
The damage caused by the fire resulted in suspension of the health services at the ASH Trauma Centre, emergency operation theatres and radiology department.
Quoting fire brigade department officials, a deputy medical

superintendent (DMS) of the hospital said short circuit might have started the fire.
The DMS said the hospital management was also investigating the incident, adding that the actual damage and cause of the fire could be ascertained only after a thorough inquiry.
Eyewitnesses said women admitted at the gynaecology department of the hospital were promptly shifted to other wards of the hospitals, as the fire and smoke in the old building had created panic among the ASH management and they had rushed to save the lives of the patients.
KMC officials said the fire engines despatched from the nearest fire centre controlled the blaze within half an hour, but by the time the fire was extinguished it had damaged the electricity cables, water tanks and some portion of the radiology and gynaecology departments, which resulted in suspension of emergency health services.
Dr Salma said an inquiry into the incident had been ordered on the directives of the Karachi commissioner, while efforts for restoring electricity and water supply were under way.
Lives of several patients, especially children, were endangered a couple of days ago when power to the ASH was disconnected due to some internal fault in the electricity supply system, while fuel was also unavailable for running the generator to provide power to the intensive care units and surgical departments.

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