Poor safety measures in Russian hospital lead to fatal fire

A fire at a psychiatric hospital for severely ill patients in the Novgorod region of Russia has killed 37 people, and officials are now claiming that the hospital had serious safety failings which may have led to the blaze.

The fire broke out at the hospital, which housed around 60 patients, earlier this month. It started in the male ward and spread quickly throughout the hospital, which was of single storey, timber construction. A total of 37 people have been killed, including a nurse who attempted to guide patients to safety. At this stage, a patient smoking in bed is believed to be the cause of the blaze.

It has also come to light that officials had ordered the hospital to be closed and its patients relocated due to the unsafe nature of the buildings construction. Some fire safety measures, including fire safety training seemed to be in place, as the fire alarms sounded when the blaze started and personnel were able to help some patients to safety, but improvements could have been made.

A criminal investigation into the hospital for “causing death by negligence” is now being carried out.

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