Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil: Fire at Rio's Badim hospital kills 11

Employees are seen after a fire hit the Badim Hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil September 12, 2019 Image copyright Reuters

A fire in a Brazilian hospital has killed at least 11 people.

Patients from the private Badim Hospital in northern Rio de Janeiro were evacuated, as thick smoke spread through the building on Thursday night.

People on stretchers filled the pavements of the surrounding streets, before being moved to an alternative location.

Some of the patients had been in the intensive care unit.

One woman told Globo news site that her 77-year-old father made his own way out of his room, but had to leave medical equipment - a neurostimulator - behind.

"It's a device he depends on for a living ... We asked a firefighter to go get it without this device he won't live. If I could get in there, I'd get it myself," she told Globo news site.

A witness, Fatima Chavier, told Reuters it was a panicked scene as the patients waited for fire crews. "Lots of people wanted to jump [out of the hospital building]... There was a lot of smoke, lots of people screaming."

Firefighters arrived on the scene just before 18:00 local time (21:00 GMT) and the blaze was under control two hours later, according to local media.

An investigation is under way. The hospital's management said they believe it was caused by a short circuit in a generator.

Image copyright AFP
Image copyright Reuters
Image copyright AFP / Getty Images

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