At least 24 killed in fire at Baghdad hospital

At least 24 people were killed and dozens injured in a huge fire that broke out in a hospital treating coronavirus patients here in the capital of Iraq, official sources said.

The incident occurred late on Saturday night when several oxygen cylinders exploded, setting a huge fire at Ibn al-Khatib Hospital, which is dedicated to treating coronavirus patients on the eastern side of the capital, said a statement released by the country’s civil defence, the Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

Civil defence teams and firefighting vehicles arrived at the scene to put out the fire and were able to prevent the fire from reaching the upper floors, the statement said.

They also rescued some 90 patients and health workers who were surrounded by flames in the building, the statement said.

“Many patients were affected by the cut of oxygen cylinders during their evacuation from the hospital, and others suffocated by the smoke,” the statement added.

A statement by the media office of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said that al-Kadhimi has ordered an immediate investigation into the incident, and that the families of the victims should be compensated and treatment be provided for the wounded.

The incident came hours after the country’s ministry reported 6,967 new Covid-19 cases, taking the national tally to 1,025,288.

It also reported 43 new Covid-19-related deaths, bringing the national total to 15,217.