Chennai hospital's braveheart nurse saves newborn babies from fire

May 26, Wednesday: It was a night of panic and mayhem at the Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children, located at the heart of the city.

Published: 04th June 2021 05:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th June 2021 12:21 PM   |  A+A-

P Jayakumar

Express News Service

CHENNAI: May 26, Wednesday: It was a night of panic and mayhem at the Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children, located at the heart of the city. Like others, P Jayakumar, a 35-year-old theatre nurse at the hospital, was on night duty on that day, when suddenly a fire broke out there. The blaze quickly spread to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), that had over 35 new-borns there.

The father of two and a resident of Ponneri, Jayakumar was quick on his feet. “We have to cross the duty doctor’s room to get to the NICU, so I knew I had to put out the fire and do it quickly because dark smoke had already engulfed a major part of the corridor and babies may not be able to tolerate it,” he told Express.

He added, “I had already undergone fire safety training so I knew which class of fire extinguisher to be used to put out electrical fire. There weren’t many who could help me at this point because they weren’t trained.” The fire had presumably set out from an air conditioning unit at the doctor’s room. The room could not be accessed from the front because of the intense smoke. Jayakumar then decided to break open the back window to get access, and by the time help came, he had almost managed to put out the blaze.

“As soon as the fire was put out, I saw many people waiting at the entrance of the hallway to carry babies from the NICU. I felt a little lightheaded but I knew if I fainted there, they would run over me. So I managed to walk a little way and fainted at the hall,” he said. All the babies and mothers in the hospital escaped unhurt.

V Manimaran, another theatre nurse, who was there on the same night, said, “Jayakumar deserves full credit for preventing a major casualty. His blood pressure was really high when he passed out. It only stabilised at around 2 am the next morning.” Jayakumar, an asthmatic, spent five days at the ICU for smoke inhalation, and returned home on Tuesday evening. “I did what I would have done if my daughters had been there at the hospital,” he said.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

  • Vijay Venkataraman

    Our words will fall short. Amazing being he is. He is already god blessed. Let him be blessed with great health and all best things in life.
    1 year ago reply
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp