Fire breaks out in AIIMS, under control now

New Delhi: A fire broke out at the teaching block of the AIIMS here on Saturday, destroying samples and medical reports and forcing evacuation of some patients, though no one was injured, officials said.

Patients from some floors of the AB ward, close to the Microbiology department where the blaze started at around 5 pm, were evacuated along with those in operation theatres above it as the smoke spread, they said, adding the fire was doused within two hours.

A Delhi Fire Services Department (DFS) official said 22 fire tenders were rushed to the site after they received a call.

The Microbiology department’s virology unit on the second floor of the teaching block has been completely gutted, sources said.

Former finance minister Arun Jaitley is admitted at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the cardio-neuro centre, housed in a different building in the complex. Several prominent leaders have been visiting the hospital for the past few days to enquire about his health.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “I appeal to everyone to maintain calm and allow the Fire Services personnel to do their work.”

A fire department official said there was no casualty in the blaze.

Dark plumes of smoke and flames were seen billowing out from the affected building of the premier health institute.

Sources said the fire spread to the Emergency Lab in the department of Lab Medicine, which is adjacent to the Microbiology department’s virology unit, where electricity work was going on for some time and cable and wire being used were kept, they said.

The fire moved downward to the first floor — and also upward to the third and the fourth floor of the building, they said.

Some parts of the fifth floor was also affected, they added.

“The fire was brought under control within two hours,” said a fire department official.

Patients’ samples come to the virology unit and Lab Medicine department for testing.

Sources said it is suspected that a large number of samples and patient records have been destroyed as the virology unit has been completely gutted.

However, there was no casualties and the cooling process is underway, a fire department official said.