82 killed in Iraq as fire erupts at COVID-19 hospital

April 25, 2021 - 21:9

At least 82 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a fire that broke out in the coronavirus intensive care unit of a Baghdad hospital as public anger erupted demanding the prosecution of high-level Iraqi officials.

The blaze on Sunday at the Ibn al-Khatib Hospital in the Iraqi capital was sparked by an accident that caused an oxygen tank to explode, according to medical sources.

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

Patients’ relatives scrambled during the blaze to save their loved ones.

According to al Jazeera, the interior ministry announced on Sunday afternoon that 82 people were killed and 110 were injured in the blaze.

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. He also sacked the director of Ibh al-Khatib Hospital and its director of engineering and maintenance, according to a statement from the health ministry and his office.