Vijayawada: The six storied and 18 meters tall, Swarna Palace hotel is not having ‘No Objection Certificate’ which is mandatory for a building having more than 16 meters tall from the department of fire service authorities.
Though, the fire fighting equipment is installed in the hotel, smoke detectors and water sprinklers are not in working condition. Fire authorities opined that, had the smoke detectors and the water sprinklers been in proper working condition, they could have alerted the Covid-19 patients and the staff who were fast asleep, by rising an alarm and dousing water on raging fire and could have helped save the lives of patients.
Based on preliminary reports, the fire authorities said that they had received phone call on fire mishap at about 5.09 am and by 5.13 am, five fire tenders were rushed to the spot and within half-an-hour, the fire was put out.
They said that as the fire erupted due to electric short circuit at reception in ground floor and started releasing thick smoke, the staff in the hotel could not notice it for some time as they were fast asleep and this resulted in smoke and fire spreading to the first and second floors of the building.
The hotel accommodates 30 Covid-19 infected patients and a majority of them are in an advanced age and suffering with moderate infection and showing either mild symptoms and asymptomatic. As the smoke and raging fire started to spread to the first and the second floors, some patients rushed to the third floor and started waving their hands and screaming for help from the open corridors.
The fire personnel managed to rescue as many as 18 Covid-19 infected patients by bringing them down on the ladders with the help of ropes.
Now, the fire authorities are a worried lot as nearly 30 personnel and officers took part in the rescue operation by handling the Covid-19 patients physically, they may get infected with the Covid-19.
Regional fire officer G. Srinivasulu said, “The multi-storied Swarna Palace hotel is not having fire NOC and the fire fighting equipment is also not in working condition.”
Meanwhile, the fire authorities say that as sanitiser sprays are being widely used to sanitise the room, beds and other facilities accommodating Covid-19 patients, the inflammable vapours were deposited in the hotel rooms resulting in rapid spread of fire.
Krishna district medical and health officer Dr I. Ramesh said, “We have given permission to Ramesh hospital to use the Swarna Palace hotel to accommodate Covid-19 infected patients to provide them treatment by taking all safety precautions.”...