Major fire guts AIIMS virology unit

A major fire broke out on the second floor of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi last evening. Fire officials reported that the blaze might have originated in the hospital’s teaching block.

No casualties were reported from the hospital. “There has been no loss or damage to life,” AIIMS said in a statement. The fire broke out on the second floor due to an apparent short-circuit. It later spread to the fifth floor, where an AC compressor exploded.

Even though the area from where the fire started is essentially a non-patient area, the hospital authorities started patient evacuation in certain nearby wards because of the thick smoke that had started to fill in those wards and corridors.

A senior police officer present on the spot said the fire was limited to three-four rooms on the fifth floor. “It won’t get worse from here. Almost all the rooms in the affected part of the building have been hit,” he said. NDRF teams are being pressed into service, the officer said.

Fire officials said firefighting might continue till early morning. A skylift was deployed to reach the terrace of the building. “As a precautionary measure, the patients admitted in adjoining AB wing have been shifted out to the other wings of the hospital temporarily,” the hospital statement further read.

According to sources, the fire spread to the virology unit of the microbiology department, which could mean several biological samples meant for testing or analysis were destroyed. The patients were shifted from the AB wards in the main building to the hospital’s eye centre and new private wards, which are on the other side.

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