Five COVID-19 patients died at a hospital in St. Petersburg, Russia, when a fire was caused by faulty ventilators, emergency officials said Tuesday.
The fire began in a sixth-floor intensive care unit at St. George's Hospital, which had been designated to treat coronavirus patients. The ICU held 20 patients, 15 of whom were rescued. Officials said five died.
Dozens of other patients were evacuated from the hospital and the fire was extinguished after a few hours. The patients were later readmitted and the hospital has since returned to normal operations.
Alexei Anikin, head of the regional department of the Russian emergencies ministry, said officials are looking into the possibility the fire was caused by the ventilators used to treat seriously ill COVID-19 patients.
The ICU ventilators were operating at full capacity, making them vulnerable to fire.
Russia has seen more than 232,000 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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