Greece: Man injured in COVID-19 hospital fire dies

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Firefighters stand in front of burnt hospital rooms after a fire in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, northern Greece, Wednesday, April 6, 2022. Firefighters were battling a blaze that broke out in a hospital where COVID-19 patients are being treated. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Greek authorities say a man who was seriously injured in a fire that broke out in the COVID-19 ward of a hospital in northern Greece has died of his injuries, bringing the total death toll from the blaze to two.

The 52-year-old man who died Thursday had been a patient in the Papanikolaou Hospital’s coronavirus ward when the fire broke out Wednesday morning due to as yet undetermined causes, police said. Firefighters discovered the body of a 79-year-old coronavirus patient at the scene on Wednesday.

One more patient is being treated for burns in the hospital, while two more COVID-19 patients are under enhanced observation after smoke from the fire exacerbated their condition. More than 30 patients were evacuated from the ward during the fire, which was extinguished shortly after it broke out.

Several fatal fires in COVID-19 hospital wards in several countries have been linked to the large quantities of oxygen being administered to patients, and which causes fire to burn faster and with greater intensity.

“The danger was from the oxygen supply to the patients. That could have made the situation much worse,” Health Minister Thanos Plevris told reporters outside the hospital Wednesday.

“The supply was cut off quickly and the response from the fire department was swift,” he added.

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