Dhaka, May 28 : A devastating fire has burned down the isolation unit for COVID-19 patients and those with symptoms at the United Hospital in Dhaka, leaving five dead. Three of them had tested positive for Novel Coronavirus and the two others tested negative, Dhaka Metropolitan Police's Deputy Commissioner Sudip Kumar Chakraborty said.
The tent-like unit outside the main building of the private facility at Gulshan caught fire at around 2200 hrs on Wednesday, fire service official Kamal Hossain said. It quickly raged through the structure as the materials used for the construction and the hand sanitizer kept inside were highly flammable, police said. Three units of the Fire Service and Civil Defence tamed the flames within half an hour, but not before the four-room structure was completely burned down, fire service's Kamrul said. The authorities were not certain what caused the fire, but quoting relatives of the patients, Mr Chakraborty said it appeared an air conditioner spark triggered the fire.
The last rites for the three COVID-19 patients would be held, following health safety protocol for COVID victims, while the two other bodies would be transferred to their families, according to him. He also said that fire service would investigate whether the fire safety system at the hospital was properly installed and working. The deceased included four men and a woman.
The hospital authorities suspect an electrical short-circuit triggered the fire, said Dr Shagufa Anwar, the hospital’s chief communication and business development officer. Other suspected coronavirus patients were kept at the negative pressure room, she said, adding that the fire incident won't affect treatment of other patients at the hospital. The United Hospital started treating Novel Coronavirus patients around a month ago. The COVID-19 caseload in Bangladesh topped 38,000 and the death toll neared 550 on Wednesday after the first patient was detected on March 8. (UNI)