At least 19 people were killed and around 50 injured in a major fire that broke out at Sum Hospital, a leading private healthcare institute, in Bhubaneswar late on Monday.

Sources said the fire started around 7.30pm in the dialysis ward on the second floor of the hospital. An electrical short circuit in the ward could have sparked the fire, which engulfed the entire floor within minutes, hospital sources said. While seven critical patients with ventilators were admitted in the dialysis ward, 11 patients were present in nearby ICU.

The affected patients were moved to other hospitals in the city. AMRI Hospital reported eight dead, while the rest of those who suffered burns were shifted to Capital Hospital. The helpline numbers for Amri hospital is 06746666600, Extension 7082,7030.

“A number of patients were present in the ward when the fire broke out,” a police officer said.

Ten fire tenders were deployed to bring the blaze under control. “The cause of the fire is being investigated,” DGP (fire services) Binoy Behera said. Several patients and their attendants were injured while trying to escape amid the chaos and smoke. Many complained of difficulty in breathing and had been shifted to other hospitals. Sources said some are in critical condition.

“Soon after the fire broke out, we shifted patients to a safer place. We also broke open some window panes to prevent suffocation of patients. Our own staffers were engaged in the rescue act,” hospital deputy superintendent Basant Pati said. According to the police some of the frightened patients tried to jump from the second floor.

“Out of panic, some people were attempting to jump to rescue themselves. We prevented them from doing so and rescued them,” a police officer said.

The blaze was brought under control later in the night.

Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik visited Sum Hospital and took stock of the situation. He also ordered Revenue Divisional Commissioner level probe into the mishap.