Exploding oxygen canisters sparked a fire that engulfed a Baghdad hospital treating Covid-19 patients, killing at least 82 people, Iraqi officials said on Sunday.
The fire began late Saturday night after oxygen canisters ignited in a hospital ward full of coronavirus patients being treated with ventilators, setting off a scramble to evacuate more than 200 people from the hospital, Iraqi health and civil-defense officials said.
A spokesman for Iraq’s interior ministry said 82 people were killed and 110 people were injured in the fire.
In an emergency overnight meeting with senior government officials, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi called the fire a “painful incident” caused by negligence. He called for senior hospital and health-ministry officials to be questioned by investigators, and ordered other facilities to be checked to prevent future disasters.