- The crew removed 71 patients after the fire broke out on Tuesday around 1 p.m
- The videos appear to show people climbing out of windows and pulling down bed sheets
Chinese state media reported that 21 people died in a fire in a hospital in Beijing, which led to the evacuation of dozens of patients.
State media – including CGTN – said staff removed 71 patients after the fire broke out on Tuesday in the inpatient ward of Changfeng Hospital in Beijing.
Videos of the fire circulating on social media show black smoke billowing from the building, with some people climbing frantically out of windows using what appear to be makeshift ropes made from bed sheets.
Others have resorted to air conditioning units outside the windows. A woman is seen climbing to the end of a bed sheet and descending from a height to a separate roof on another floor of the building, where others have already gathered.
The emergency response teams initially received information just before 1 pm local time (0500 GMT) that a fire had broken out at the hospital in the capital’s Fengtai District.
The fire was put out after about half an hour and rescue efforts continued for another two hours. News reports put the death toll at 21 by 6 p.m.
State media said the fire had been put out, rescue work had been completed, and the cause of the fire was under investigation.
It was not immediately clear if all hospital occupants had been found and evacuated from the fire, which was in the eastern building of the inpatient department of the private hospital.
The report said the deaths were confirmed after the victims were transferred to another unknown hospital for emergency treatment.
No further details were available on the number of injuries sustained in the fire or their condition.
A user of Weibo, the Chinese social media platform, described the fire as “tragic”.
I can see the accident from my house window. Lots of people were standing on the air conditioning unit at noon and some even jumped off it.
This is consistent with what has been seen in at least two videos online, both of which are preserved from another building facing the gray edifice of the hospital.
Beijing Changfeng Hospital is located in the western urban area of the capital, about a 25-minute drive from the center of Tiananmen Square.
The fire comes after 38 people were killed in a factory fire in central China last year that was blamed on workers using illegal filler.
Xinhua reported at the time that the fire broke out at a factory in Anyang City, Henan Province, on November 21.
Just four days later, an apartment fire in Xinjiang killed 10 people, while two months earlier, another fire engulfed a skyscraper in the city of Changsha.
No fatalities were reported in the Changsha accident.
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