Friday, 11 October 2013

Japan hospital fire kills 10 patients and staff

A fire at a hospital in southern Japan has killed ten people and left eight others injured.

The blaze broke out at an orthopaedic hospital in the city of Fukuoka while patients were asleep.

Officials said that eight of those who died were patients and two were staff at the hospital.

Witnesses described seeing emergency crews attempting to revive several of the patients outside the hospital.

Media reports say a total of 18 people were at the hospital at the time of the fire, which has since been extinguished.

Police said the fire started from the first floor of the four-storey building, but the cause is still under investigation.

Most of the building was destroyed in the blaze.

Many of the patients admitted to the hospital, which is in a quiet residential area in the city, are believed to be elderly.

The fire started at around 2.20am and took fire crews around two and a half hours to put out.

There was no sign of an initial fire extinguishing effort at the hospital and fireproof doors on the second and third floors were not properly used, according to an unidentified fire department official

An eyewitness told local media that the ground floor of the hospital "was red with flames and was filled with smoke. The part where beds were located seemed to be burning".

During a press conference, a fire station official told reporters: "We did our best in fire-fighting to save lives... but it was a difficult situation."

"We received news of the fire at a very late stage, and there had been no attempt [by staff] to tackle the fire in its early stages."

"Patients... were exposed to a lot of smoke because fire doors that would have stemmed the flow had been left open," he added.

"We will start an investigation [into the source of the fire]."

At least five other people were injured by the fire, officials said, with several reportedly in a critical condition.

Friday 11 October 2013


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