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Iraq COVID hospital fire: At least 23 dead after 'oxygen tank explodes'

April 25, 2021 1:08 pm
Reports say an oxygen tank explosion was the cause of the blaze

At least 23 people have been killed in a fire at a hospital treating coronavirus patients in the capital of Iraq, Baghdad.

Dozens of others were injured in the blaze, which erupted at the Ibn Khatib hospital on Saturday night.

Reports say an accident had caused an oxygen tank to explode, sparking the blaze.

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Videos on social media show firefighters scrambling to extinguish the flames as people flee the building.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi called for an immediate investigation into the causes of what he called a “tragic accident”.

The head of Iraq’s Civil Defence, Major General Kadhim Bohan, told state media the fire broke out in the hospital’s intensive-care unit, on a floor “designated for pulmonary resuscitation”.

So far, emergency crew had rescued 90 out of 120 patients and relatives, state news agency INA quoted him as saying.

About “30 patients were in the intensive care unit”, which was reserved for the most severe cases of Covid-19 in Baghdad, a hospital source told the AFP news agency.

The injured and patients who weren’t hurt have been taken by ambulance to other hospitals nearby.

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