82 killed in Baghdad hospital fire says Iraq Interior Ministry.
Iraq’s Interior Ministry said today that 82 people died and 110 injured in a deadly fire that broke out in the intensive care unit of a Baghdad hospital treating critically ill coronavirus patients.
The negligence of hospital authorities has been blamed for the Saturday night fire, which according to initial reports was caused when an oxygen cylinder exploded in the Ibn al-Khatib hospital ward. Iraq’s prime minister fired key hospital officials hours after the catastrophic incident. Also, read Parts found of missing Indonesian submarine with 53 crew members.
Among the dead were at least 28 ventilator patients battling severe symptoms of the virus, tweeted Ali al-Bayati, a spokesman for the country’s independent Human Rights Commission. The commission is a semi-official body.
Firefighters scrambled to fight the flames that swept through the second floor of the hospital. Civil defense teams put out the flames until the wee hours of the morning.
Ambulances transported dozens of injured. The Health Ministry said at least 200 people were rescued from the scene.
The medics on the scene were exhausted by the chaos unfolding around them. They said that numerous burned bodies were carried by paramedics from the hospital floor.
The fire came as Iraq grapples with a severe second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Daily virus cases now average around 8,000, the highest since Iraq began posting infection rates early last year. At least 15,200 people have died from coronavirus in Iraq out of a total of at least 100,000 confirmed cases.
In response to the fire, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi fired the director-general of the Baghdad Health Department in the al-Rusafa area, where the hospital is located. It also fired the director of Ibh al-Khatib Hospital and its director of engineering and maintenance, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health and his office.
After the fire broke out, Al-Khadhimi held an emergency meeting at the headquarters of the Baghdad Operations Command, which coordinates the Iraqi security forces, according to a statement on his Twitter account.