NASSIRIYA, Iraq (Reuters) – At least 42 people died and more than 60 were injured in a fire at a hospital with Covid-19 patients in the southern Iraqi town of Nassiriya, law enforcement and health officials said Monday.
“Medical teams carried charred bodies out of the burning hospital while many patients coughed from the smoke,” a reporter said at the scene of the fire.
According to the Iraqi state news agency, ministry sources said search operations at al-Hussain Hospital were underway after the fire was brought under control.
“The fire trapped many patients inside the coronavirus ward and rescue workers were having a hard time reaching them,” a health worker told Reuters before entering the burning building.
Initial police information suggested that an oxygen tank explosion inside the Covid-19 treatment wing was the likely cause of the fire, according to a police officer at the fire scene.
Health sources said the death toll could still rise. Two health professionals are among the dead.
In April, a fire caused by an oxygen tank explosion at a hospital for Covid-19 victims in Baghdad caused 82 deaths and 110 injuries.
(By Reuters reporter in Nassiriya, Alaa Swilam and Nayera Abdallah)
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