The 200 capacity Balaka district hospital has been partly gutted by fire completely burning the kitchen unit and the data and records office.
Speaking in an interview, Eugene Katenga-Kaunda Balaka district director of health and social services said the fire started from the kitchen unit and spread to the data and records office around 4am today.
“We have managed to evacuate all the 146 patients currently admitted to the hospital. Since we cannot prepare food for them we have liaised with neighboring districts of Ntcheu and Machinga to accommodate our patients.
“We called the Fire Department but since they were taking long we just used our fire extinguishers and sand to contain the fire although the whole block (data and kitchen units) have completely burnt down,” Katenga-Kaunda said.
He said the cause of the fire has not been established but it started in the kitchen spreading to the electrical circuit unit before consuming the data and records office completely, nothing was salvaged from the office.
One of the patients in the maternity wing from Chitala Village in the area of traditional authority (T/A) Nsamala said they woke up to a loud explosion of electric pots in the kitchen unit when they were told to evacuate the wards.
“It was scary and we had to escape from the wards aided by our guardians. Luckily there were no casualties as all the patients were successfully evacuated but we do not know what happens next,” she said.