Three intensive care patients killed in huge explosion sparked by vigil candle lit for Covid victim

THREE people have died after a candle lit in memory of a Covid patient caused a fireball to erupt in an intensive care unit, officials said.

Yesterday, a hospital staffer in Kosiv, western Ukraine, lit the candle in tribute to the victim according to local tradition, the emergencies services said.


The flame was lit in the hospital's ICU where five oxygen concentrators had been operating, with equipment instantly catching fire.

"Ignorance of the elementary laws of physics and disregard for safety rules have led to irreparable losses," officials said, describing the incident as a "terrible mistake."

According to officials, four people suffered horrific burns – including three doctors.

Tragically, a 76-year-old man and two women – aged 58 and 76 respectively – died in the inferno.

Two of the people were killed were patients.

The local prosecutors office is probing the deadly fire which erupted on the ground floor of the facility, Interfax news agency reports.

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Emergency workers evacuated people from the four-storey hospital and managed to put out the flames, officials said.

Deadly fires are common in the ex-Soviet nation due to poor compliance with safety regulations and ageing infrastructure.

In February, an oxygen explosion killed one Covid patient and injured another at a hospital in the western city of Chernivtsi.

The same month, four people died in the southwestern city of Zaporizhzhya after a fire ripped through the intensive care unit of a hospital that was treating coronavirus patients.

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