Death toll from Baghdad Covid-19 hospital fire climbs to 82
A fire sparked by an oxygen tank explosion killed at least 82 people and injured 110 at a hospital in Baghdad that had been equipped to house Covid-19 patients, an Interior Ministry spokesman said on Sunday.
The fire erupted on Saturday at the Ibn Khatib hospital in the Diyala Bridge area.
A man who had been visiting his brother described people jumping out of windows to escape.
"The fire spread, like fuel ... I took my brother out to the street, next to the checkpoint. Then I came (back) and went up from there. To the last floor, that did not burn. I found a girl suffocating, about 19 years old, she was suffocating, she was about to die," said Ahmed Zaki.
"I took her on my shoulders and I ran down. People were jumping... Doctors fell on the cars. Everyone was jumping. And I kept going up from there, got people and come down again,” Zaki said.
Patients were moved to other hospitals, medical sources said. But several families were still at the hospital hours after the fire had been extinguished, after failing to find them elsewhere.
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered an investigation.
"Such an incident is evidence of negligence and therefore I directed that an investigation be launched immediately and for the hospital's manager and the heads of security and maintenance to be detained along with all those concerned until we identify those negligent and hold them accountable," he said in a statement.