Death toll in Indian hospital fire rises to 73

December 9, 2011 12:28

The death toll from a fire that ripped through a seven-story hospital in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata before dawn Friday rose to at least 73, most of whom were patients who were asleep when the blaze started.

Thick smoke engulfed the hospital and firefighters smashed windows to evacuate people down ladders to safety from upper floors. Other patients were rolled out on stretchers.

The fire broke out in the basement and quickly spread through the building by air-conditioning shafts. People said that the fire brigade took an hour to reach the scene.

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