Two Covid patients die in Romania’s latest hospital fire

BUCHAREST, Romania (AFP) — A fire at a Romanian hospital killed two patients early Thursday, officials said, the fourth such deadly blaze in a year in the EU member known for its dilapidated infrastructure.

The blaze ripped through a hospital for infectious diseases in the southern city of Ploiesti shortly after 4:00 am local time.

“The fire was extinguished fast, but unfortunately two people died”, Health Minister Cseke Atilla told local media, adding that an investigation was opened.

A nurse also suffered burns in the blaze, officials said.

The head of the hospital, Bogdan Nica, said that the building had undergone renovations the previous year and that its electrical and oxygen systems had been verified recently but that the building did not have the necessary fire safety authorisation from the fire department, like about half of Romanian hospitals.

The blaze was the latest deadly fire at a Romanian hospital since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

In October, seven Covid patients died in a blaze at an intensive care unit of a hospital in the city of Constanta on the shore of the Black Sea.

In January, five patients died in a fire at a Bucharest hospital.

In November 2020, another blaze killed 15 patients at a hospital in Piatra Neamt in the northeast.

Three Covid patients also died in a mobile intensive care unit in Bucharest in April 2020 after a malfunction in the oxygen supply system.

© Agence France-Presse