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12 May, 2020 05:02

Fire erupts at Saint Petersburg Covid-19 hospital after ventilator malfunctions, 5 dead

Fire erupts at Saint Petersburg Covid-19 hospital after ventilator malfunctions, 5 dead

Five patients perished in a major fire at a Saint Petersburg hospital on Tuesday morning with 150 people evacuated to safety. The facility has been designated to treat patients with coronavirus.

Emergency services were alerted to the blaze at the Saint George Hospital in Russia's second city at around 6:30am local time. Plumes of smokes were observed coming from the building’s sixth floor.

Officials told local media that there were five fatalities. Citing sources, local reporters said the victims were receiving artificial lung ventilation.

The institution was repurposed to care for coronavirus sufferers after the pandemic hit Russia, and has more than 5,480 beds. Firefighters were deployed to the scene, and the blaze is believed to currently be under control.

Speaking to local TV station 'Saint-Petersburg', eyewitness Sergei Nikiforov explained how all the patients in his hospital room were woken up by a nurse, instructed to take documents, put on a mask and quickly leave. According to Nikiforov, the medical staff deserve praise for how they managed the situation.

"I was surprised by how well and quickly everything was done," he said, "The smoke was severe, and they helped us get through the smoke and down the stairs, because there were people who had difficulty moving. Well done, of course. They need to be given full credit."

According to reports from Saint Petersburg, a response team was previously called to the facility on May 1 to neutralize a chemical leak on the third floor.

Immediate findings indicate that the cause of the fire was a short circuit. A source told news agency Interfax that the fire broke out in one of the ventilators. “The artificial lung ventilation devices are working at their limits," they explained. "Preliminary data says that one of them became overloaded and burst into flames, which caused the fire."

Also on rt.com ICU death trap: One patient dies, 300 evacuated after fire breaks out at Covid-19 hospital in Moscow (VIDEOS)

On Saturday, another blaze occurred at Moscow’s Hospital No. 50, which was also treating people with Covid-19, and killed one patient. The tragedy was reportedly caused by the malfunction of an artificial ventilation device.

A day later, a fire broke out inside a private nursing home in the city of Krasnogorsk, northwest of Moscow, killing ten of its bedridden residents. A short circuit was again listed among the possible causes.

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