India Hospital Fire Kills Dozens

More than 90 people have reportedly been killed in an early morning fire that hit a hospital in the Indian city of Kolkata.

According to the New York Times, the fire at the Advanced Medical Research Institute started from the basement and quickly spread to the upper floors due to oil stored in the area. Thick, black smoke reportedly engulfed the five-storey, 180-bed private hospital, suffocating many of the patients who were stuck in their rooms.

Firefighters arrived at the scene but could not immediately enter the building due to heavy smoke. West Bengal state minister for urban development Firhad Hakim said it took more than three hours before firefighters were able to enter the building. “The smoke was so thick and black that it was not possible to enter into the hospital,” said Hakim, who added that it was already around 7:30 when firefighters entered the building. “Whoever they brought out, most of them were dead.”

A hospital official said that the medical facility was equipped with fire alarms and extinguishers. “We’re inquiring into the incident. All the fire systems were in place,” hospital senior executive S. Upadhyay said. The state government of West Bengal has already launched an investigation.