Bulgaria castles

Hospital fire in Bulgaria kills three COVID-19 patients

SOFIA, Nov. 14 (Reuters) – Three men died in a fire that broke out on Sunday in a COVID-19 ward at a hospital in the town of Sliven in southern Bulgaria, officials said.

The fire, which was quickly extinguished, broke out at around 00:40 GMT and affected a room. Six patients in adjacent rooms were transferred to other departments of the hospital, said the head of the regional fire safety service Vladimir Demirev.

Two of the men were found dead by firefighters. The other patient suffered severe burns and was transported to another hospital where he later died.

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The cause of the fire is under investigation, but a cigarette lit by a patient was the most likely cause of the fire, the health ministry said in a statement.

More than 8,000 COVID-19 patients, including 700 in intensive care units, are being treated in Bulgarian hospitals as the Balkan country votes in its third parliamentary election this year.

Bulgaria has the lowest vaccination rate in the European Union and one of the highest COVID-19 death rates in the bloc, with a record number of daily infections throughout October spreading its hospitals.

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Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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