A blaze set off by an exploding oxygen cylinder swept through a hospital that lacked smoke detectors or sprinklers. More are expected to die from severe burns.
The Interior Ministry said that 110 more people were hurt, and that the death toll was expected to rise as more patients who suffered severe burns succumbed to their injuries.
The hospital, Ibn al-Khatib, is located in one of Baghdad’s poorer neighborhoods and dedicated to treating severe Covid-19 cases. It had no smoke detectors, sprinkler system or fire hoses, said Maj. Gen. Khadhim Bohan, the head of Iraq’s civil defense forces, and the fire spread even more quickly because of flammable material used in false ceilings in the intensive care ward.
“If there had been smoke detectors, the situation would have been totally different,” he told the state-run Iraqiya TV.
General Bohan said that civil defense had inspected the hospital last year as part of 18,500 technical inspections but that its recommendations for safety measures had been ignored.