Vijaywada fire incident: COVID patients woke up gasping for breath in smoke-filled rooms

By Ashish Bhosale  Published on  9 Aug 2020 11:32 AM GMT
Vijaywada fire incident: COVID patients woke up gasping for breath in smoke-filled rooms

Vijayawada: On Sunday, 9th August, at least ten patients were feared killed when a fire broke out at a private COVID-19 care centre, Swarna Palace Hotel, on Eluru Road in Vijayawada in the early hours of Sunday. A complaint lodged by the Tahsildar, Vijayawada police registered a case under 304 (II), 308 r/w 34 of the Indian Penal Code, against the management of Swarna Palace and Ramesh Hospital.

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Sujatha, a 42-year-old woman who survived the fire mishap at the COVID Care Centre in Vijayawada, said, "At 10 am, I have been shifted to M5 Hotel in the city. At 5 am, I woke up as I began choking and found that my room was engulfed in smoke. In the haze, I headed to the door and tried to open it but found it was locked. I could not breathe and soon, tried to open the window but found it was too hard for me to at least slide it. I began fearing for my life and started thinking if I will be able to get out of the place. I could hear the elderly people admitted beside my room screaming for help as they were not able to breathe. After around 15-20 minutes, the fire personnel broke open the window of my room and I climbed out of the window, gasping for breath till the rescue team took me down with the help of a rope and ladder. It was a horrific experience and I did not expect that I would be able to come out alive,” she said.

I was admitted to Swarna Palace just hours before the mishap. I could neither open the door nor the window. I saw many people jumping off from the first and second floors in a desperate attempt to save their lives. I am lucky that I could come out alive. The staff of this hotel told me that 11 people died in the mishap," she added.

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"I felt some difficulty in breathing and woke up only to find my room filled with thick smoke. I saw on my phone and the time was 3:40 am. Still panting for breath, I broke open the glass window and jumped into the corridor for safety. I don't understand how could the management of Ramesh Hospital be so irresponsible and shift us to Swarna Palace where there is no safety, in case of a mishap. Seeing flames in the building, I called up the police and the fire personnel for rescue. I am thankful for the fire fighting personnel and police for rescuing me," said Pavan Sai Kishan, another survivor of the accident.

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