‘Had promised I would come to take her home’: Gloom, despair among relatives of Mumbra blaze victims

Family members of those who died in the fire at Prime Criticare Hospital in Mumbra on Wednesday said they did not have the faintest idea that their loved ones, whose health was showing signs of improvement, would not live to see the another day.

Niyaz Salmani, whose mother Halima died in the blaze, said that he was planning to take her home on Wednesday after the doctors suggested that she was fit to be discharged.

“She was a very strong woman. Since last year, she was undergoing dialysis, as diabetes had affected her kidneys. Everyone, including the doctor, had lost hope, but she fought back. When we met on Tuesday night, she was in good spirits and the doctor told me to take her home the next day. I had promised her that I would come in the morning to fetch her,” Niyaz said.

He added that family members took Halima to Prime Criticare hospital on Tuesday afternoon after her health deteriorated. “Till 10.30 pm on Tuesday, I was with her in the hospital. Sometime after her admission, she was shifted to the general ward,” said Niyaz.

“She was doing fine when I left. However, her health deteriorated in the night and her condition turned critical,” he added.

While Halima was being treated, the fire broke out at the meter room of the hospital. Niyaz’s 18-year-old daughter was at the hospital then and she started making frantic calls to her father.

“I panicked when she called me several times… when I rushed to the hospital, my mother was being taken out to be shifted to another hospital,” Niyaz said.

However, while she was being shifted to Bilal hospital, which is on the opposite lane of Prime Criticare hospital, Halima died. “The report says that she died due to suffocation,” Niyaz said.

Vishal Sonawane, in his early thirties, lost his father Harish in the fire. He was declared dead while he was being shifted to a nearby Covid-19 care facility.

“He was admitted to the hospital on Saturday, as he could not breathe properly. He was subsequently tested for coronavirus. His test report, which we received on Tuesday, came positive,” said Vishal.

As the hospital authorities asked Vishal to shift his 57-year-old father to a Covid-19 facility, he planned to do so on Wednesday. However, in the wee hours, he received a call from the hospital about the fire.

“He died due to breathlessness… he was already suffering for Covid-19 and inhaled smoke for a while,” said a municipal official.

Four patients admitted in the intensive care unit of the private hospital in Mumbra were killed after a major fire broke out early on Wednesday.

A short-circuit in the meter box of the hospital is suspected to have sparked the fire, according to preliminary inquiry.

Prime Criticare Hospital is a ground-plus facility located at Shimla Park, on old Mumbai-Pune road at Kausa in Mumbra.

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