Fire: An ultrasound machine, a refrigerator, complete blood count machine and the drug store were all the rescue team could save in a fire that lasted for two hours completely destroying the grade I Bali basic health unit (BHU) in Haa yesterday.

The fire that started at around 3:30pm was contained by 5:30pm by the officials of Royal Bhutan Police, Royal Bhutan Army, dzongkhag administration, IMTRAT, Dessups and volunteers.

Although the cause of the fire is unknown, it is suspected to have started from the mother and child health clinic’s room.

Bali BHU’s General Duty Medical Officer, Dr Sonam Gyeltshen, said soon after he reached home to change, he was informed that the BHU was on fire.

“At around 3:15pm, I have been to my chamber after coming back from a school health programme at one of the schools in Haa. There was no sign of fire not even smell of smoke then,” Dr Sonam Gyeltshen said. “I rushed to the scene and it was scary to see the hospital engulfed in fire.”

The fire damaged the colour coating of the new ambulance, which was yet to be handed over to Sombeykha BHU. The keys were kept in the administrative officer’s office, which was already on fire.

A tuberculosis patient in an isolated room in the BHU, who was undergoing medication, also managed to escape unhurt.

Since the drug store is saved, the patient will be able to continue with his medication without any problem, Dr Sonam Gyeltshen said.

“It’s early to comment on how we will be able to continue with our daily routine at the BHU,” he said.

Around the same time in Thimphu, at about 4pm, a Honda Mobilio caught fire on its way from Taba to Thimphu.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Owner of the vehicle, Jimba, said he and his relative were on their way to dispose off a ritual cake (torma) somewhere in a nearby forest.

“Suddenly, we noticed smoke coming from the engine of the car, which later engulfed the whole interior of the vehicle,” Jimba said. “We immediately parked the vehicle and the fire engulfed the car.” The car was bought six months ago.

Firefighters reached the scene after 30 minutes and extinguished the fire. No casualties were reported.

Thinley Zangmo