Tragedy recently struck in Baghdad after 82 people met a fiery end when an oxygen tank exploded at a hospital reserved for COVID-19 patients.
Last weekend had a profound impact on Baghdad after a catastrophic incident killed 82 people, injured 110, and left many others in disarray.
According to Iraqi officials, there was a fire and it broke out at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Ibn al-Khatib hospital. The location was dedicated to those who were infected with the novel coronavirus.
A photo of an ambulance attending to an emergency. | Photo: Getty Images
WHAT CAUSED THE FIRE?
Initial reports revealed the fire erupted from an oxygen cylinder explosion in one of the hospital's ICU wards. The flames reportedly spread very quickly because of the flammable material used at the ICU's false ceilings setup.
The wards are located on a floor allotted to "pulmonary resuscitation"— patients who were hospitalized for COVID-19 also occupied the floor, and among them, 28 died. The firefighters and civil defense team worked to put out the fire until the following morning.
EYE WITNESS ACCOUNT
Iraq has had a recent surge in the number of those infected with COVID-19, so the hospital had barred visitors because of the high risk of transmission; however, they allowed patients' relatives to cater to them.
A sum of 10 million Iraqi dinars ($6800) was also promised to the families affected by the terrible event.
A man named Murtadha Riyadh had been picking up some medicine for his grandmother situated along with his aunt in the hospital's ICU ward when the explosion occurred.
About 200 people were evacuated, but Riyadh's grandmother and aunt did not make it. They died from suffocation, as did several others.
After the catastrophic incident during an emergency meeting with his cabinet, Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi suspended Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi and Baghdad Governor Mohammed al-Atta.
According to a statement released by the prime minister's office, the two will allegedly be questioned about the subject of the hospital fire that happened under their reign.
The statement also revealed that a thorough investigation to be concluded in five days had been ordered, with results to be submitted to the council of ministers. A sum of 10 million Iraqi dinars ($6800) was also promised to the families affected by the terrible event.
The UN envoy to Iraq, Jeannine Hennis-Plasschaert, could not hide her shock and pain, and she said as much in a statement where she called for stricter protection measures in hospitals.