Fire in Rio de Janeiro hospital forces evacuation of patients

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About 200 patients were evacuated from one of the pavilions of the Federal Hospital of Bonsucesso, one of the reference medical centers in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, for a fire that destroyed part of his warehouse and that the firefighters took three hours to control.

Although the fire did not leave victims, the hospital management confirmed that two COVID-19 patients who were in very serious condition, died during the evacuation process due to the worsening of their situation.

A 40 year old woman died when she was transferred to another unit and another 33-year-old when she had already been relocated to another ward of the medical center.

Some 175 of patients evacuated They were relocated to other wards of the same hospital that were not affected by the flames and another 25, who were in serious condition, were transferred to seven other public hospitals in the most emblematic city of Brazil, according to official sources.

Investigate the causes

The spokesman for the Fire Department of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Lieutenant Colonel Lauro Boto, affirmed that the fire did not leave no injured and that the few people who had to be treated for smoke inhalation are in good condition and out of danger.

He added that the fire started early this Tuesday in a warehouse located in the basement of the first pavilion of the Bonsucesso Hospital, for unknown reasons and that the flames spread rapidly because the place contained a large amount of flammable material, especially diapers.

Area of ​​risk

According to the spokesman for firefighters, patients and hospital officials were evacuated before the smoke reached the infirmary, which is located on the first floor of the affected building, so the quick reaction of the first responders prevented further damage.

The infirmary of the affected building has the capacity to care for 400 people, but at the time the fire there were only about 200 patients.

According to Boto, the flames were controlled shortly before noon on Tuesday but firefighters remained in the building until the afternoon while they verified possible new outbreaks, reviewed and removed the damage and evaluated if the building structure became affected.

Makeshift hospital

Some of the patients, removed on stretchers and connected to oxygen cylinders, were initially transferred to a tire warehouse and mechanical workshop located in front of the hospital before the management of the medical center relocated them, where the doctors set up a makeshift infirmary.

The spokesman said that despite the fact that ward number one was completely evacuated due to being compromised by the flames and smoke, none of the other buildings of the hospital were affected by the fire.

The municipal Health Secretariat reported in a statement that it made all its network of medical centers to receive other patients who need to be transferred.

COVID-19 patients

Of the patients transferred to other hospitals, four were admitted for COVID-19 since this hospital was named last March by the Ministry of Health as the reference unit in Rio de Janeiro to treat the new coronavirus.

Other of the four transferred patients were taken to the Riocentro convention center, where the mayor’s office has set up a field hospital to attend to those infected with COVID-19 and that was already in the process of dismantling.

Rio de Janeiro is the second city most affected by the coronavirus in Brazil, the country with the second most deaths from the disease in the world after the United States, with 157,400 deaths, and the third with the most infected after the United States and India, with about 5.4 million cases.

The Federal Hospital of Bonsucesso, located in the neighborhood of the same name, in the north of Rio de Janeiro, is a reference unit of the public health system of the city since 1990 and the largest regional public hospital, with about 5,000 employees.

In September of last year, a fire in a private hospital in Rio de Janeiro, also in the north of the city, left 11 patients dead and four firefighters injured.

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