Dozens dead in India hospital blaze

09 Dec 2011

At least 61 people have been killed in a fire at a hospital in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, senior officials have said.

The fire erupted in the basement of the hospital early on Friday morning.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters that 61 bodies had been recovered from the hospital by early afternoon.

Firefighters smashed the glass walls of AMRI Hospital and used rope ladders to rescue people trapped on the first and second floor of the building,

Television images showed rescuers taking several patients on stretchers to a nearby hospital.

Police said 20 fire engines raced to the scene and firefighters brought the blaze under control after several hours. But the first three floors are the building were still filled with smoke and rescuers were searching for others who may still be trapped.

The cause of the fire is not yet known but Ms Banerjee implied that hospital negligence caused the tragedy.

"It's a very serious offence and we will take the strongest action," she said at the scene.

Copyright Press Association 2011

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