A fire in an Indian hospital has been blamed on a UPS battery short-circuiting.

The Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) ignored advice from the fire department to move the UPS for its data center out of Nehru Hospital, The Tribune reports this week.

fire-8837_1920 hans pixabay.jpg
– hans/pixabay

The report for the fire incident on October 9 in the C Block of Nehru Hospital in Chandigarh, northern India, said that PGIMER had been advised to move its battery bank outside of the hospital building in both 2016 and 2019 for "proper ventilation and maintenance."

In total, the UPS consisted of 160 batteries. DCD has contacted PGIMER for information about the type of batteries used in the UPS.

PGIMER failed to follow this advice, and a fire broke out in the hospital that originated in the battery bank of the centralized UPS.

The UPS did receive maintenance throughout this period by the Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) until 2015, and the battery bank was also replaced in 2016 and 2019.

The fire department further advised the computer section to place an expression of interest for the efficient operation and maintenance of the UPS system in January 2022.

According to reports by the Hindustan Times, PGIMER had been without a fire NOC or safety certificate since 2021.

The fire broke out at 11:55pm and quickly spread to the adjoining staircase, forcing more than 400 patients to be evacuated. Just one week following, another fire broke out at the advanced eye center, also caused by a short circuit in the UPS batteries.

In total, the PGIMER saw damages worth Rs 12.26 crore (~$1.5m).

A few weeks after the fires broke out, PGIMER floated a tender to replace the IT and networking equipment power supply systems at 12 different locations on the institute's premises.

The UPS systems will be replaced at Nehru Hospital’s C Block, Nephrology Department, Research Block A, Research Block B, New OPD, Advanced Paediatric Center, Advanced Cardiac Center, library, School of Public Health, Drug Deaddiction and Treatment Center, NINE, Oral Health Science Center, and Advanced Eye Center.

PGIMER has also formed a 'Disaster Rapid Response Committee' in response to the incident, and according to reports by the Times of India, no patient care area will house any electrical device like a UPS or server room.

According to the PGIMER website, the institute's computer section was incepted in 1992. PGIMER's IT infrastructure comprises: "A main data center, hosting high-end servers, SAN, and a campus-wide local area network (with 3336 I/Os) with OFC as a backbone."

A fire in a Dhaka, Bangladesh, data center on October 26 resulted in the deaths of three people and caused severe Internet disruptions. Similarly, the fire service noted issues with fire precautions at the location.