Discuss as:

Rescuers evacuate patients from Kolkata hospital as fire breaks out

Bikas Das / AP

Fire officials rescue a patient as he cries in a pain, from the window of a nursing home after it caught fire in Kolkata, India, Friday, Dec. 9, 2011.

Bikas Das / AP

A hospital staff member shouts for help after a fire broke out on Friday.

Bikas Das / AP

Fire officials and local people climb ladders to rescue patients trapped inside on Friday.

Bikas Das / AP

Fire officials rescue a patient from the window of a nursing home after it caught fire in Kolkata, India, Friday, Dec. 9, 2011.

Updated at 4:10 a.m. ET: The death toll has risen to at least 73, India's NDTV station reported. Click here for the latest updates.

msnbc.com staff and news services report:

KOLKATA, India -- At least 20 people are feared dead in a fire that struck a hospital in this eastern Indian city, officials said Friday.

Officials said at least 40 patients appeared to be trapped on upper floors after the fire broke out early Friday in the basement, the BBC reported. Rescuers were trying to reach them.

"Patients have suffocated on the fumes. Many have lost their lives," West Bengal Urban Development Minister Farhad Hakim told reporters, according to the BBC.

Many patients have been evacuated and moved to other hospitals, the BBC reported.

A correspondent at the scene told BBC radio that fire trucks were having a difficult time reaching the scene because of narrow streets around the hospital.

Read the full story here.