21 patients from the male ward of the country’s oldest mental institution, Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta (HBUK), were forced to evacuate after a fire broke out yesterday at the facility yesterday.

Patients from the ward were transferred to safety by the hospital’s Emergency Response Team and the Ipoh Fire and personnel from the Rescue Department, and no casualties or injuries have been reported.

Fire started at storeroom and spread to ward

The fire reportedly started at approximately 1pm at a store room adjacent to the hospital’s Ward 11. The flames soon spread and destroyed the store room as well as part of the ceiling and roof of the ward.

“The roof of the ward was destroyed by as much as 40%, and the fire had spread to the storeroom, which is next to the ward,” said director of the Perak Fire and Rescue Department, Datuk Yahya Mahdi.

“The fire destroyed 15% of the storeroom,” he also said, adding that other facilities were not affected by the blaze.

According to Yahya, the Perak Fire and Rescue Department was alerted of the fire at 1.09pm and a team was immediately deployed to the location. A rescue team from Simpang Pulai was also dispatched to the scene to help bring the fire under control, usher patients to safety, and save equipment.

The operation ended at approximately 2pm.

Safety SOP audit for HBUK recently conducted

This incident comes after another fire occurred in the state of Perak in November 2016 at Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, which was said to be sparked by a short circuit.

“I was told that this building may be over 50 years old but I would like to state that it’s safe to use if it’s properly managed. Most of the buildings here are old but safe to be used,” said Yahya, who added that many emergency exits were available in the facility.

He added that the authorities are investigating the cause of the fire, and the ward would be closed for three to seven days.

In October, the Health Ministry called for a fire safety audit for all government hospitals nationwide after a deadly blaze claimed the lives of six ICU patients at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Bahru.

According to Perak health acting director Datuk Dr Rahimi Goon, the HBUK had recently undergone a safety SOP audit.

“The report was submitted to the Health Ministry,” he added. MIMS

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