Evidences suggest patients were not locked inside the makeshift Covid-19 unit, says probe body chief
The fire service probe body investigating the death of five patients in a fire at the United Hospital Covid-19 unit have visited the scene on Saturday and recorded statements of doctors, nurses, and other staff members who were on-duty late on Wednesday, when the fatal fire broke out.
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune Fire Service Director (operation and maintenance) Zillur Rahman, who heads the probe, said they are yet to speak with anyone from the management of the hospital at the capital’s upscale neighbourhood of Gulshan.
He said they will cross-check the evidence with the statements taken on Saturday.
The walls of the makeshift Covid-19 isolation unit were made of plywood, and the material used in the ceiling were also flammable, which caused the flames to spread quickly, said Zillur.
The five patients who died were on oxygen support and were not in a situation to realize instantly that a fire had started, according to him.
On allegations of the patients locked inside, the fire service director said: “We did not find any evidence suggesting that. The bodies were found on the beds. If any of them were found on the floor or near the door, it could have suggested they tried to escape. However, we will look into the matter further.”
The United Hospital also launched an internal inquiry by members of its security wing, human resources department, and clinical management cell.
Shagufa Anwar, chief of communication and business development at the hospital, told Dhaka Tribune they were carrying out an internal investigation and helping the fire service probe team in every way possible.
“We will share our findings with fire service and try to address any lapses identified by these two separate investigations,” she added.