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8 newborns die of burns, smoke inhalation in Algerian hospital fire

2019-09-24

A hospital fire killed eight newborn babies in Algeria early Tuesday.

Tragedy struck just before 4 a.m. local time at the hospital in Oued Souf, about 310 miles from the capital city of Algiers, Al Jazeera reports.

Emergency services spokesman Captain Nassim Bernaoui told AFP news agency, “Unfortunately, we regret the deaths of eight babies, some from burns and others from smoke inhalation.”

According to AP News, three of the infants succumbed to burns, and five to asphyxiation.

He did note that 11 babies were saved, along with 37 women and 28 hospital employees.

The fire occurred in the neonatal ward of the Al-Um Bashir bin Nasser Hospital, CNN reported, citing Ennahar, a private TV station.

According to Ennahar, “Sources say that the newly-born babies were completely burnt and are difficult to identify.”

Ennahar notes that Mohamed Miraoui, the country’s Minister of Health, has called for an “urgent investigation” into the cause of the incident, though early findings suggest an electrical spark.