Blaze kills 73 at Indian hospital
AT LEAST 73 people were killed when a fire engulfed patients at a hospital in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, with officials accusing staff of abandoning those in their care.
The fire broke out at around 3:00am (local time) when the vast majority of the 160 patients inside the privately-run, five-storey facility were asleep.
The senior vice-president of the AMRI hospital, S Upadhayay, said 73 people had been confirmed dead, including three members of staff.
Fire officials said initial investigations suggested the blaze had started in the basement, with most of the victims suffocating on the thick, acrid smoke that quickly filled the wards on the floors above.
By 9:00am, the blaze had largely been brought under control, but smoke continued to billow from shattered windows, as firemen struggled to reach those still trapped inside.