Dozens dead after fire splits through Baghdad COVID-19 hospital

Three days of national mourning was declared after a fire emerged, which is believed to have started when an oxygen cylinder exploded at Baghdad’s Ibn al-Khatib Hospital.

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Almost 27 people have died and 46 were wounded in a fire that emerged in the COVID-19 intensive care unit of a Baghdad hospital as calls grew for the prosecution of high-level Iraqi officials.

On Sunday, the fire at the Ibn al-Khatib Hospital in the Iraqi capital was ignited by a mishap that caused an oxygen tank to blast, according to medics.

The flames blew out quickly, as per the civil defense officials, as “the hospital had no fire protection system and false ceilings allowed the flames to spread to highly flammable products”.

An eyewitness who was visiting his brother when the fire broke out pronounced people hopping out of windows as the fire spread rapidly throughout the unit designed to treat COVID-19 patients.

“In the beginning, there was an explosion,” said an anonymous relative of one of the patients who were there at the time of the blast. “People were jumping… Doctors fell on the cars. Everyone was jumping.”

Major-General Kadhim Bohanm, head of the Iraqi civil defense unit, said 90 of a total of 120 patients and relatives had been rescued, state news agency INA quoted him saying.

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