Fire At COVID-19 Hospital Kills 82

A devastating fire in a COVID-19 hospital in Baghdad killed 82 people in the early hours of Sunday.

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News agency AFP reported, quoting sources, that many of the victims were on respirators when the blaze at Ibn al-Khatib Hospital started with an explosion caused by a fault in the storage of oxygen cylinders.

With most patients asleep and several staff off duty at that hour of the day, most were caught off guard as the flames spread quickly across several floors.

Besides 30 serious COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit, several family members who stayed back in the hospital in case of an emergency had no escape route and were burnt alive.

“The hospital had no fire protection system and false ceilings allowed the flames to spread to highly flammable products,” an Iraqi official said.

“Many of the victims died because they had to be moved and were taken off ventilators, while the others were suffocated by the smoke,” he added.

Amid an outpouring of anger, there were widespread calls to sack the country’s Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi and “bring him to justice”.

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