Bhubaneswar hospital fire: Post-mortem reports say 19 died of suffocation

New Delhi: The death toll in the Sum Hospital fire tragedy on Saturday rose to 24 with another man succumbing even as the post-mortem reports of 19 of the victims said they died of suffocation and not due to burns. The toll in the fire mishap, which occurred on Monday evening, mounted to 24 with the death of Kartikeswar Das, a resident of GGP Colony in Bhubaneswar, at a private hospital, Additional District Magistrate, Bhubaneswar, Manoj Kumar Mohanty said.

Das was shifted from Sum to another private facility on the night of the incident, but as his condition worsened on Friday, he was referred to a third hospital where he died on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the post-mortem reports of 19 bodies which were taken to Capital Hospital said they had died of suffocation.

The post-mortem reports which reached the Commissionerate of Police revealed that “there was no burn case. All the 19 people died due to suffocation due to smoke caused by the fire,” said Commissioner of Police YB Khurania. The post-mortem reports of the other bodies were yet to come.

Khurania said the police also received “vital” information on violation of fire safety norms while interrogating the owner of Sum Hospital, Monoj Ranjan Nayak, whose two-day police remand ends on Saturday night.

“We will interrogate all those concerned regarding the safety measures of the hospital,” Khurania said, adding that Nayak’s wife Saswati Das, also a trustee member of the hospital, was still at large. The look-out circular issued against her was still in force, he said.

Meanwhile, new Odisha Health Minister Pradip Kumar Amat said action would be taken against the culprits behind the tragedy as per law.

“I will try to do justice to the responsibility bestowed on me by the Chief Minister,” he said after taking charge.