Balaka — There was chaos and discomfort among patients admitted at Balaka District Hospital and their guardians during the wee hours of Friday July 31st, 2020 when the hospital's kitchen caught fire.
In an interview, one of the guardians of patients at the hospital who witnessed everything disclosed that the fire started around 4:00 in the morning from the kitchen.
"I started smelling some smoke, and later heard something like gun shots coming from the direction of the kitchen.
"When I went out to check, I saw smoke and I knew it was fire. I alerted my other friend and together we started shouting for help", said Michel James.
He added: "Everyone was so busy making sure that his or her patient is safe from the fire such that some of us have lost our patient's health passport books and up to now they cannot be traced."
James said well-wishers came in time and assisted in calling for a fire fighting vehicle from Zomba which came very late when the damage was already done.
In an interview, the Hospital's Publicist, Mercy Nyirenda disclosed that the hospital has greatly been affected by the fire and that all patients have been referred to near-by hospitals.
"The fire has affected our kitchen, laundry, data office and our stores, postnatal and other patients have been evacuated to near district hospitals like Machinga and Ntcheu.
"There are no casualties as people from outside as well as hospital stuff who were present at the time worked tirelessly to evacuate patients from the wards when the fire was at its worst," she said.
According to Nyirenda, the hospital will have to evaluate the damage caused to establish how much the hospital has lost from the fire.
"We are still investigating to establish the root cause of this fire, and once this is done, the general public will be told accordingly," she added.
Meanwhile, it has not yet been established how many patients were admitted during the time of the accident.