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Nine patients killed in hospital fire in northern Iran’s Rasht

All the fatalities from the blaze at Qaem Hospital were in the intensive care unit, according to local authorities.

The fire in Rasht comes after a blaze in January ripped through Gandhi hospital in Tehran [File: Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters]By Maziar MotamediPublished On 18 Jun 202418 Jun 2024

Tehran, Iran – Nine patients have died after a fire broke out in the basement of a hospital in the city of Rasht in northern Iran.

The six women and three men killed were in the intensive care unit of Qaem Hospital, local authorities said. All the patients in the facility were evacuated.

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Mohammad Taghi Ashoubi, the head of the Gilan University of Medical Sciences, told reporters on Tuesday that an intubated patient who was in the intensive care unit had died, while eight others were killed earlier.

“The cause of death of these patients is being investigated by the Gilan medical examiner,” he was quoted as saying by the state-run IRNA news agency.

Five infants who were at Qaem Hospital were transferred to the 17 Shahrivar Children’s Hospital and were in good health, he said.

The fire started in a room on an underground floor of the hospital, where the emergency power generators were located, state media reported.

The authorities have not commented on unconfirmed reports that the fire broke out after the extensive use of emergency power generators amid power cuts as Iran endures scorching summer heat.

The fire is believed to have started at about 1:30am (22:00 GMT on Monday) and the cause was being investigated.

Translation: According to reports from people present at the site of the fire disaster at Rasht’s Qaem Hospital, the fire started from the power generators’ room after a long-term power cut in the hospital and the use of emergency power, and the patients in the intensive care unit died due to suffocation from smoke inhalation.

The 250-bed hospital was caring for 142 patients at the time of the incident, 33 of whom were in intensive care. Dozens of people had to be transported to multiple healthcare facilities in the area.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said he has been in contact with provincial officials to coordinate assistance for the injured, ensure the safety of the hospital to restart operations, and investigate the cause of the fire.

Hadi Salimi, the head of the Red Crescent Society in the province, told state media that 26 teams comprising 75 emergency responders were dispatched to the hospital from eight counties.

In late January, a massive fire ripped through the 17-floor Gandhi hospital in the capital, Tehran, but caused no casualties. In June 2020, a fire led to a powerful explosion caused by gas canisters at a clinic in northern Tehran, killing 19 people.

A blaze ripped through a dilapidated drug rehabilitation centre in the city of Langarud, also in the province of Gilan, killing 36 people who were trapped inside last November.

Officials said the fire was set by a 28-year-old who had been treated at the facility and wanted to burn it down to free the people inside. The centre could hold a maximum of 30, but 49 people were inside at the time of the incident.

Source: Al Jazeera