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Indian hospital fire toll rises to 20, staff suspended

Blaze broke out on Monday night in the dialysis ward of the hospital in eastern Odisha state

Published: Updated:

Three staff at an Indian hospital have been suspended after a deadly blaze in the intensive care unit, authorities said on Tuesday, as the toll from the disaster rose to 20.

Fire broke out on Monday night in the dialysis ward of the hospital in eastern Odisha state before quickly spreading to other floors, killing 19 seriously ill patients who were unable to flee the blaze.

Another patient died in hospital on Tuesday after being rescued from the burning building, said police inspector Sharat Kumar Sahu.

"The toll is now 20 as one more person has succumbed to his injuries," he told AFP.

Negligence

"We can also confirm that three mid-level hospital staff have been suspended prima facie (for) negligence."

About 40 critically ill patients were in the ICU of the SUM hospital in state capital Bhubaneswar when the fire broke out.

In all more than 100 were rescued by firefighters who smashed windows to get them out of the burning building.

Local television stations showed images of firefighters wearing masks smashing glass panes to enter the building.

Police inspector Sahu said the firefighters had battled the blaze for around five hours until it was brought under control.