KARACHI: Two more victims of the Sindh Government Hospital Liaquatabad’s fire succumbed to their injuries at a private hospital on Friday, raising the death toll from the blaze to four.

The latest victims were identified as 27-year-old Mahesh and 38-year-old Abdul Haseeb. The former was a sanitary worker and the latter a cook at the hospital.

They were among the seven employees of the hospital who on Feb 11 suffered serious injuries in the fire that erupted on the hospital’s premises.

Initial reports suggested that the fire was caused by a short circuit. An investigation, however, was currently underway to ascertain the exact cause of the fire and fix responsibility for the incident.

Earlier, Asif Irfan and Sattar Ahmed, both paramedics at the hospital, died during treatment at the hospital.

Two victims are still under treatment at the hospital.

Sources said that all the victims were moved to Patel Hospital from the burns unit of the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) a day after the incident on their families’ insistence, indicating a lack of public trust in the government-run facilities for burn victims.

The sources said government hospital buildings had been found to be very vulnerable to fire as cases of blaze had frequently been reported there. This included the blaze at the CHK three years back as well as the recent one at the Lyari General Hospital.

Unfortunately, the fire incident at the Liaquatabad hospital was the first case in recent decades with high human casualties.

The incident, the sources said, once again reminded the authorities to urgently equip hospitals with firefighting equipment and train staff in fire safety management.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2024

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