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Fire tears through hospital for coronavirus patients; at least 19 dead

(CNN) — At least 19 people died in a hospital fire Saturday night in Baghdad after oxygen tanks exploded, two health officials at the hospital told CNN.

Officials are still trying to figure out how many people were wounded in the explosion at Ibn al-Khatib Hospital, but they say there are “many.”

Social media videos showed a chaotic scene as firefighters scrambled to put out the blaze and health workers tried to evacuate patients.

People from all over Iraq are referred to the hospital in southeastern Baghdad, including many with COVID-19.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi sent his condolences to the victims of the Baghdad hospital fire and is ordering an immediate investigation, according to his office.

“Prime Minister and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces @MAKadhimi mourns the martyrs of the tragic accident that occurred in Ibn Al-Khatib Hospital in the capital Baghdad,” the Iraqi Prime Minister’s office tweeted early Sunday morning.

“Mr. Al-Khadimi ordered an immediate investigation into the causes of the accident with the people in charge in the Ministry (of health) and he ordered to summon the hospital’s manager, the security manager (of the hospital) and those responsible for maintaining the equipment in the hospital to immediately investigate with them on the background of the accident … until the investigations are completed and all those who are negligent are held accountable.”

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