KIEV (AFP) – Three people have died in Ukraine after a candle lit in memory of a patient who died of COVID-19 set fire to an intensive care unit, officials said yesterday.
On Tuesday, a hospital employee in Kosiv, a western town on the edge of the Carpathian mountains, lit a candle in memory of a recently deceased coronavirus patient according to local tradition, the emergencies services said.
The candle was lit in the hospital’s intensive care unit 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,” the emergencies services said, describing the incident as a “terrible mistake”.
Three people – including two patients – were killed. Four other people were treated for severe burns. 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 coronavirus patient and injured another at a hospital in 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.