Iraq: At least 64 killed, 67 injured in coronavirus hospital fire

At least 64 people were killed and over 67 injured in a fire likely caused by an oxygen tank explosion at a coronavirus hospital in Iraq’s southern city of Nassiriya, health officials and police said on Monday.

The fire which erupted at Imam Al-Hussein Hospital in the Dhi Qar governorate, the capital of Nassiriya, is likely caused by an oxygen tank explosion, health officials said. 

“The victims died of burns and the search is continuing,” said Haydar Al-Zamili, and Iraqi health official, adding that there were fears victims could still be trapped inside the building. The ward itself has space for 60 patients.
The interior ministry said in a statement that “civil defense teams are battling a fire accident in the center of Dhi Qar governorate inside Imam Al-Hussein Hospital.

Iraq’s civil defense said that the fire was completely under control after authorities evacuated the patients, Iraq’s news agency reported.

Dhi Qar’s health department has declared a state of emergency in the governorate, and doctors have been ordered on leave to help treat the injured.

An official day of mourning has also been declared for the victims. 

Sixteen people have been rescued from the blaze, a medical source said late Monday. Initial police reports suggested that an oxygen tank explosion inside the hospital’s COVID-19 ward was the likely cause of the fire, a policeman at the scene of the fire said.

Health sources said the death toll could rise as many patients were still missing. Two health workers were among the dead, they said.


Arab News

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