Fire prompts evacuation at KL hospital

Firefighters put out the blaze, which broke out in a storage room of the National Institute of Forensic Medicine, before it was able to spread. No casualties were reported.
Firefighters put out the blaze, which broke out in a storage room of the National Institute of Forensic Medicine, before it was able to spread. No casualties were reported.PHOTO: CHINA PRESS

KUALA LUMPUR • A fire broke out in the forensics department of Malaysia's largest public hospital yesterday, forcing an evacuation of patients, staff and visitors.

Hospital authorities said firefighters put out the blaze, which broke out at around 12.15pm in a storage room of the National Institute of Forensic Medicine, before it was able to spread. No casualties were reported.

"The Fire and Rescue Department was alerted and the fire was brought under control before it could spread," hospital director Nor Akma Yusuf said in a statement. She added that services at the hospital were not affected.

Images and videos posted on Twitter and Facebook showed hospital staff evacuating dozens of patients on stretchers and in wheelchairs.

The fire department said a short circuit is believed to have caused the fire. Fire and Rescue Department director Khirudin Drahman said the hospital's engineering team had prevented a larger disaster from happening when they removed oxygen tanks that were stored close to the room where the fire broke out.

The forensics institute is the top forensics agency in the country. It has handled several high-profile cases in Malaysia, including the post-mortem on the body of Mr Kim Jong Nam, the murdered half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Any connection between the fire and this case was considered unlikely.

REUTERS, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 18, 2018, with the headline 'Fire prompts evacuation at KL hospital'. Print Edition | Subscribe