An elderly couple suffering from COVID-19 had a hard time escaping the violent fire that swept the Sunrise Hospital in Mumbai, with the wife having to drag her husband out through the dark corridor.
“I can never forget the horror of the last night. I had to drag my husband like some dead animal through a dark corridor,” recounted Madhuri Godhwani in her interview to the Indian Express. However, Madhuri’s ordeal did not just stop there. After surviving the major blaze that broke out at Mumbai’s Sunrise hospital on Friday, she and her husband had to wait for hours before they got a hospital bed.
The couple, Madhuri Godhwani (67) and her husband Chetan Godhwani (78), was admitted to the Sunrise Hospital in the Dreams Mall on Thursday evening after being tested positive for the coronavirus. At 11 pm on that night, Madhuri saw the smoke billowing inside the room where the duo was admitted. Chetan was on oxygen support and too feeble to move. “I called for help…a ward boy asked me to run and pointed in a direction and left…I kept shouting for help for my husband,” the woman recalled.
Realising that there was no help coming and the smoke was rapidly enveloping inside the room, Madhuri dragged her husband through the dark corridor. She remembers taking a lift that was working on backup power to reach the first floor and then came down the stairway.
As the couple emerged out of the hospital, there was chaos and disorder along the street. In the ensuing commotion, Madhuri’s husband’s saline tube snapped and his hand started bleeding. She called up her son and waited for him to arrive.
When their son Lalit arrived, he saw his father bleeding and mother wailing on the road. “There were no ambulance available. I called a private ambulance which charged us Rs 8,000. We tried multiple hospitals, but they all denied having beds…Finally, by 4 am, we reached Viraj Hospital in Thane where we got beds,” Godhwani said.
Lalit said that his family had paid Rs 1 lakh in advance to the Sunrise hospital. Now, their savings are completely depleted. Lalit has asked his company to pay his salary in advance to help him tide over the financial crisis looming over his head. Lalit also mentioned that Sunrise hospital has neither reached out to them nor responded to their calls.
The violent conflagration broke out at the Sunrise Hospital in the Dreams Mall building in the Bhandup area around Thursday midnight. The temporary hospital is situated on the top floor of the four-storied mall building.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray visited the spot in the afternoon and assured strict action against those who were responsible for the fire. He apologised to the families of the victims and announced Rs 5 lakh to the kin of each deceased.
The cause of the fire is yet to be determined, BMC sources said. Thirty fire tenders, 20 water tankers and ambulances were rushed to the spot to control the fire and shift the patients to other hospitals.
The blaze came in the midst of surging coronavirus cases in Mumbai. On Thursday this week, Mumbai registered 5,504 new infections, the highest daily count since the pandemic began.
10 people died in the fire that broke out in Mumbai. All the 10 people were coronavirus patients.