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PGI ignored Fire Dept advice to shift batteries outside: Report


It has come to the fore that the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) ignored explicit warnings from the Fire Department against placing the batteries of the UPS system within the hospital building.

The report on the fire incident in C Block of Nehru Hospital, which took place last month, has revealed that the Fire Department had advised the PGIMER in 2016 as well as 2019 to relocate the battery bank outside the building for a proper ventilation and maintenance.

The fire, which originated from the battery bank of the centralised UPS system, has raised serious concerns about the adherence to safety recommendations at the premier medical institute. It took around three hours to contain the fire. Fortunately, there were no casualties.

The report further revealed that despite maintenance of the UPS systems by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) till 2015 and subsequent replacement of the battery bank in 2016 and 2019, the PGIMER continued to have the battery bank within the hospital building. The fire department’s explicit advice to shift the batteries outside apparently went unheeded.

The centralised UPS system of the data centre had been maintained by C-DAC till 2015. After that the maintenance was being looked after by the institute itself and this battery bank was replaced by the engineering wing twice in 2016 and 2019.

The Fire Department had also advised the computer section to float expression of interest (EOI) for an efficient operation and maintenance of the UPS system in January 2022, in coordination with the engineering wing. This UPS system was being inspected by biomedical division of the institute as and when any complaint was received through the data centre. The last inspection was reported to have been done on September 29 and 30.

According to the report, a call about the fire incident in C Block (adjoining Nephrology Unit) was received in the fire control room at 11.55 pm on October 9. The fire originated from the battery bank of the centralised UPS system at Data Centre, Nehru Hospital, having 160 batteries.

Within no time, the fire engulfed the adjoining staircase and damaged the manifold line. Fire and smoke also spread to the upper floors of the C Block. It took around three hours to contain the fire. Primarily, ABC type and Co2 type of fire extinguishers were used. Fire brigade was informed at 12.07 am and 12 fire engines were pressed into service.

Biomedical division inspected UPS system

  • Despite maintenance of the UPS systems by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing till 2015 and subsequent replacement of the battery bank in 2016 and 2019, the PGIMER continued to have the battery bank within the hospital building.
  • After 2015, the maintenance was being looked after by the institute itself and the battery bank was replaced by the engineering wing twice in 2016 and 2019.
  • The UPS system was being inspected by the biomedical division of the institute as and when any complaint was received through the data centre.
  • The last inspection was reported to have been done on September 29 and 30.

#PGI Chandigarh


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