Vijayawada: “Around 4.30 am, I was on the third floor of the building, in Room No. 309, when there was a chaos and I thought the management was shifting some patients but when I opened the door, to my shock, I found flames and smoke plumes stretching towards my room. Stricken by fear, I locked myself in my room, opened the window and sat by the window still facing the road to get some air because I was unable to breathe as smoke had already entered the room” a COVID patient recalls the horrific fire mishap at Swarna Palace Hotel in Vijayawada.
Subba Rao is one among the survivors of the ghastly fire mishap that occurred at the Covid Care Centre, set up at Swarna Palace Hotel on Eluru Road in Vijayawada early on Sunday morning.
#VijayawadaFireAccident: Officials carry out rescue operation at #Swarnapalacefireaccident. A major fire broke out on the wee hours of Sunday, leaving 11 #COVID patients dead and other injured. @APPOLICE100 @ysjagan pic.twitter.com/msbjO3LxZK
— NewsMeter (@NewsMeter_In) August 9, 2020
“I used my mobile flashlight to point at the people below to draw their attention so that they can rescue me. Those on the ground were asking me to jump off to save myself and soon, I saw many other patients doing the feat but I was completely scared to do that. Amidst the mayhem, around 5:50 am, I could hear fire engine sirens getting louder as they were nearing the building and could see the fire personnel swing into action to douse the flames, hazily. Till 7 am, I stay put at the window still as I was frightened out of my wits. Slowly, I could see people and objects more clearly as the thick blanket of smoke began clearing and was happy to see the rescue team proceeding towards me. The team slowly lowered me to the ground with the help of a rope and shifted me to Ramesh Hospital. It was 7 am then and for nearly 3 hours,” recalls Subba Rao, who still seems to be in a state of shock.
Further, he said that he got admitted in the hotel considering it to be a safe place as it is run by a private hospital. The hospital charged Rs 40,000 during my admission, he revealed.
At least 10 patients were feared killed in the mishap. The fire, which broke out around 4.30 am on the first floor of the multi-storied hotel, quickly spread to the second floor too. A city-based private hospital, Ramesh Hospital, set up a Covid Care Centre at the hotel.
Vijayawada Police have booked a criminal case against Dr Ramesh Hospital and Swarna Palace hotel management following the major fire accident that claimed the lives of 10 COVID patients. This is the second fire incident occurred in a COVID care center in a span of two weeks.
Following a complaint lodge by the Tahsildar , Vijayawada police registered a case under 304 (II), 308 r/w 34 of the Indian Penal Code, against the management.