Five coronavirus patients die in Bangladesh hospital fire

Dhaka: The Bangladesh Fire Service has formed a four-member panel to investigate a fire that burned down the isolation unit and killed five patients, including three COVID-19 positive, at the United Hospital in Dhaka, it was reported on Thursday.

The committee has been asked to submit the report as soon as possible. The tent-like unit outside the main building of the private facility caught fire at around 10 p.m. on Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, said Zillur Rahman, a fire service director. Firefighters extinguished the flames in about an hour, Rahman said.

Five bodies were recovered from the makeshift isolation unit of the United Hospital treating COVID-19 patients, Rahman said. “The dead included four men and a woman aged between 45 and 75,” he said.

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It quickly swept through the structure as the materials used for the construction and the hand sanitizers kept inside were inflammable, the police said.

Of the five victims, two had tested negative for the virus, Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Deputy Commissioner Sudip Kumar Chakraborty said on Wednesday.

Three units of the Fire Service and Civil Defence brought the blaze under control within half an hour, but not before the four-room structure was completely burned down, the fire service said.

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Authorities were not certain what caused the fire, but quoting relatives of the patients, Chakraborty said it appeared an air conditioner spark triggered the fire.

Mean while, the hospitals are struggling to deal with a spike in coronavirus infections in recent weeks in Bangladesh, which has reported 38,292 cases and 544 deaths.

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