Iraqi health officials: 64 dead in fire at coronavirus ward


People gather outside a COVID-19 hospital in Nasiriyah, Iraq, early Tuesday, July 13, 2021. A catastrophic blaze erupted at the coronavirus hospital ward. It was the second time a large fire killed coronavirus patients in an Iraqi hospital this year. (AP Photo)

BAGHDAD (AP) – Iraqi medical officials say the death toll from a catastrophic hospital blaze in a southern city has risen to 64.

Two health officials said on Tuesday that more than 100 people were also injured in the fire that torched the coronavirus ward of al-Hussein Teaching Hospital in the city of Nasiriyah the previous day.

The officials say all those who died suffered severe burns.

Earlier officials had said the fire was caused by an electric short circuit, but have not provided more details.

Another official said the blaze erupted when an oxygen cylinder exploded on Monday.

The different accounts could not immediately be reconciled.

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