Algeria hospital fire: Eight newborn babies die in maternity wing blaze

135 adults and 11 infants rescued from blaze, spokesperson says

Andy Gregory
Tuesday 24 September 2019 09:58
Algeria's prime minister Noureddine Bedoui (pictured) has ordered an investigation after a fatal fire broke out in a maternity ward
Algeria's prime minister Noureddine Bedoui (pictured) has ordered an investigation after a fatal fire broke out in a maternity ward

Eight newborn babies have died in a fire in the maternity wing of a hospital near Algeria‘s border with Tunisia, according to reports.

The fire broke out at approximately 4am on Tuesday in the hospital in the town of El Oued, 360 miles southwest of the capital, Algiers, state broadcaster ENTV television and national radio reported.

A total of 11 babies, 107 women and 28 staff were rescued in the blaze, Captain Nassim Bernaoui, an emergency services spokesperson told AFP.

“Unfortunately we regret the deaths of eight babies, some from burns and others from smoke inhalation,” Captain Bernaoui was quoted as saying.

The report did not say whether any adults were hurt.

The report said the prime minister ordered an investigation and the health minister was heading to the hospital.

According to ENTV witnesses said the fire looked to have been caused by electrical sparks from poorly maintained devices.

Health minister Mohamed Miraoui said the blaze may have been caused by a defective anti-mosquito device and vowed the investigation would determine whether it was responsible.

It was the second fire to rip through the maternity hospital in El Oued in 18 months, according to AFP. A blaze in May 2018 caused significant damage to the building but nobody was injured.

Additional reporting by AP

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