| Hakim Hayat |
NEWS of a fire at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital gained plenty of attention from the country’s netizens yesterday, with many sharing photos of the incident on social media.
According to reports, the fire broke out around 7.50am at the Cardiology Centre, followed by a loud bang. .
Images captured on mobile phones by onlookers showed smoke bellowing from windows as fire raged inside a room of a hospital block.
Other images showed scores of patients and their families being evacuated from the building and the outpatient department filled with smoke.
As the day continued, pictures trickled in showing the damage to the Cardiology Department.
One Bulletin reader, whose family member is currently an inpatient at the hospital, said he received the images from a friend as soon as he had woken up.
“Worried, as no information had been relayed to me at the time, I rushed to the hospital,” he said, adding that he was thankful no serious injuries were reported.
Another Bulletin reader, who chose to remain anonymous, slammed state broadcaster Radio Televisyen Brunei’s (RTB) poor coverage of the incident.
In a letter sent to the editor, he lamented that there was no mention of the incident during the live telecast of its daily morning programme “Rampai Pagi”.
“It is quite disappointing that no one at RTB had the right mind to bring forward the news … when social media was abuzz with updated pictures and stories from people at the scene,” he said.
“RTB should be the main channel disseminating such breaking news to the public so that we are kept well-informed.
“This is important because they can be the right channel to dispel the rumours going around on social media,” he said, adding “this is especially so since authorities have sternly warned against the spreading of false information”.
The reader said there would have been many who would have raced to the hospital worrying sick for their families and relatives.
“This would definitely lead to a more crowded and hectic scene at the hospital. So why did RTB choose to be silent and not advise the public?
“Should they not inform the public that everything is under control or at least advice them to avoid the area so that the relevant authorities can perform their duties?” he said.
The Bulletin learnt that major roads leading to the hospital area were shut for public safety as the Fire and Rescue teams battled to put out the flames. Access to the vicinity was also limited until the area was declared safe.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.