Posted at 08:44 AM ET, 12/09/2011

Kolkata hospital fire leaves scores dead after staff reportedly abandon patients

A hospital fire in Kolkata, India, that killed more than 70 people Friday sparked angry clashes between police and grief-stricken relatives, who said senior staff abandoned patients inside. Some of the relatives said they could even hear their loves one calling them from within the building as the flames rose, the Guardian reports.

The owners and six directors of the AMRI hospital in Kolkata, which also serves as a nursing home, have been arrested by police, the Times of India reports.

The fire is believed to have spread quickly from the basement of the hospital, engulfing many of the wards in flames and trapping hundreds of people inside. Although many patients died of burns, several died of suffocation from the carbon monoxide, and the death toll could still rise.

Indian politicians have also been accused of fueling anger over the fire, as the West Bengal ministers publicly pronounced that senior staff had abandoned patients. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said of the fire: “Such private clinics make people pay through their nose. But still they do not pay attention towards the minimum safety measures. They are criminals and law will take its own course to bring them to book.”

Sohini, a journalist with the Financial Express, wrote in response: “Politicizing the AMRI fire is more disgraceful than the fire itself.”

Two weeks before the fire, Indian publication “The Week” had ranked AMRI No. 1 for “Emergency and Super Speciality.”

Watch video of the fire below:

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By  |  08:44 AM ET, 12/09/2011

Tags:  World, India, Kolkata, AMRI hospital, fires

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