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Electrical mishap causes fire scare at Coast General Hospital

Monday November 11 2019

Fire at Coast Genera

A Mombasa County fire engine is pictured parked outside the administration block of Coast General Hospital, following a fire scare on November 11, 2019. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

MISHI GONGO
By MISHI GONGO
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Activities were halted for more than 30 minutes at Coast General Referral Hospital in Mombasa County on Monday, after a fire broke out.

The fire that started at the hospital’s main switch caused a scare that saw doctors and some patients ran out.

Mombasa health executive Hazel Koitaba said the fire started as a result of rain drops splashing onto the electricity circuit board at the changing room in the hospital's administration block.

Ms Koitaba said the sparks started at around 8am but were immediately contained.

“This is a rainy season and electricity sparks are unavoidable. It was nothing major ... we called the fire fighters just to be sure,” she said.

NO EVACUATIONS

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The hospital administrator, Dr Iqbal Khandwalla, refuted claims that some patients were evacuated from the wards and theatre, saying the fire did not go beyond the walls of the changing room.

“Our equipment is battery-backed so there was no need for evacuations. we had everything under control,” said Dr Khandwalla.

He added that immediately after the sparks were detected, the management alerted the firefighters who contained the situation.

“It was nothing major. There was no extensive damage. We called the fire brigade just to be safe, considering this is a big institution that deals with thousands of people,” the doctor said.

He said the incident would be investigated.

WITNESS ACCOUNT

Ms Margaret Kinywa, a witness, said she heard a loud bang before the lights went off.

“I went to visit a relative. When I was coming out, I heard a blast then it went dark and everyone in the corridors, including doctors and nurses, ran out. We saw smoke and fire coming from the administration block,” Ms Kinywa said.

She claimed some patients in the theatre were evacuated to safe areas, claims that Dr Khandwalla and Ms Koitaba denied, insisting no patient was moved.

The pair added that the hospital had the capacity to handle such cases.

“We have trained our staff on fire fighting and have carbon dioxide cylinders for putting out fires,” said Ms Koitaba.

Nation team observed smoked walls and burnt wires at the upper floor of the administration block.