North Macedonia COVID Hospital Fire Kills 14 People

Macedonian authorities said 14 people have died after a fire broke out in a temporary COVID-19 unit at a hospital in a North Macedonian town of Tetovo on Wednesday evening.

In an earlier tweet, Health Minister Venko Filipce said ten people have been confirmed dead in the blaze but the number has risen to 14.

Tetovo Deputy Fire Chief Saso Trajcevski said the fire quickly spread in the building after oxygen cylinders exploded in hospital rooms. 

Video shared by local media showed a building in flames as firefighters raced to the scene. 

“This is a truly tragic event… The fire has been extinguished, but many people’s lives have also been extinguished. The struggle to save lives continues… The cause of the fire will be determined,” Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said on Facebook. 

The health ministry said 26 patients were inside the center at the time of the incident, 12 of them were in hospital and out of critical care.

The government reportedly constructed the temporary COVID-19 facility last year for people who have contracted the virus and were seriously ill. 

Infectious diseases specialist, Zaklina Sopova, complained that makeshift hospital facilities had been set up without proper safety standards, .

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