, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 26 – A fire broke out at the Kenyatta National Hospital on Wednesday afternoon, causing panic as patients were quickly evacuated from the affected area.
The fire occurred at the cardiology unit on the front (Eastern) mezzanine floor of the hospital\’s main tower which is next to the main casualty and emergency departments which are considered core departments.
A few patients who were waiting to be attended to at the cardiology unit were quickly evacuated as guards and nurses battled the fire before it could spread to other units.
"We had to break glass on the windows to ensure the fire was put out because it posed a potential threat to the hospital in case it spread to other areas," a guard said.
Within a record 14 minutes, fire fighters from the City Council of Nairobi fire department were at hand to put out the blaze.
"We arrived on time and that is why as you can see, we have managed to contain the fire. The hospital is now safe," the City Council\’s fire department deputy manager Mr Peter Ngugi said.
KNH\’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Charles Kabetu said only stationery and furniture were destroyed during 4pm incident.
He said normal services would not be affected because "the machines and equipment used at the cardiology department are movable."
"Everything will go on as usual… our operations will not be affected and patients can be seen here tomorrow," Dr Kabetu said.
"We will have the equipment moved to other rooms to enable our doctors continue with their work. There should be no cause for alarm," he added.
He said the damage caused was minimal "because it only affected furniture and a few documents."
He said patients\’ records were not affected.
Dr Kabetu told journalists they suspected inflammable materials may have caused the fire.
"It started from the stores at the cardiology department, so we suspect there were inflammable materials which must have started the fire," he said but did not state if drugs kept in the stores had been destroyed.
Guards at the hospital however told Capital News that drugs in the store where fire started from were among items destroyed.
In a statement sent to newsrooms on Wednesday evening, Dr Kabetu said an investigation into the incident had been launched.
"At the moment, we have not ascertained the cause of the fire but investigations are being carried out by the KNH management with assistance from the NCC fire brigade," the acting CEO said.
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