10 dead in Rio de Janeiro hospital blaze

Agence France-Presse . Rio de Janeiro | Published at 12:40am on September 14, 2019

At least 10 people died in a fire inside a hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday evening with rescuers desperately trying to evacuate scores of patients from the building, the fire service said.

The fire broke out at dusk at the Badim hospital in the north of the city, with first reports suggesting the cause was a short circuit in a generator in the oldest part of the complex.

‘At least 10 people died,’ the Rio de Janeiro fire department said in a statement, without specifying whether the victims were patients or workers. ‘About 90 patients had to be transferred to other medical units.’

The blaze was brought under control by 8:00pm (23:00 GMT), and fire fighters searched until the early hours of Friday to recover bodies from the scene.

During the emergency evacuation, dozens of trolly beds and stretchers were taken into the surrounding streets as ambulances struggled to get through crowds of curious onlookers to rush the most vulnerable patients to other hospitals.

Dense black smoke poured out of one side of the hospital, a private facility in the Tijuca neighbourhood, as doctors, nurses and volunteers ran inside to rescue patients.