Video/Tweets: Fire Kills 89 in India, Hospital Accused of Abandoning Patients

Rescue workers evacuate a woman after a fire engulfed a hospital in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata on December 9, 2011. (Strdel/AFP/Getty Images)

It was a tragic scene in Kolkata, India (formerly Calcutta) early Friday morning as flames and smoke engulfed a hospital leaving 89 people dead. There were 160 patients inside AMRI Hospital when the fire began around 3 am. According to The Associated Press, the flames were first noticed by slum dwellers nearby who alerted the hospital guards but were told it was no cause for worry.

Medical staff fled shortly after the fire ripped through the hospital. The AP reported it was more than an hour before a fire brigade arrived on the scene. Many of the patients died from smoke inhalation.

Witness Sanjeet Kayal told Reuters, “We could see helpless patients inside trying to catch our attention, asking for help by pressing their hands and faces against windows.”

The cause of the fire is still unknown, but government officials and families of the victims have accused the privately-owned hospital of ignoring basic fire safety laws and abandoning their patients.

Calling the fire an "unforgivable crime," chief minister of the state of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, added, "It's a very serious offense, and we will take the strongest action." The hospital's license has been revoked and police have arrested six hospital officials for charges of "culpable homicide."

Below, find a video of the scene from this morning and some angry reactions to the devastation on Twitter:

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Shreeya Sinha is an award-winning Journalist, Multimedia Producer and Social Media Editor for Asia Society. She was raised in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and India.