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Several patients being treated for coronavirus have died after a ventilator caught fire, Russian news agencies say. Initial indications are that the device was overloaded.
At least five COVID-19 patients in the Russian city of St. Petersburg died on Tuesday after a ventilator caught fire in the intensive-care ward they were being treated in, according to Russian news agencies.
News agency Interfax quoted a source as saying that the patients had died from inhaling toxic substances released by the fire in the intensive-care unit located on the 6th floor of the hospital in the Vyborgsky district.
Rescue teams reportedly took 150 people to safety.
Authorities have reportedly launched an investigation into criminal negligence leading to death.
Much of Russia's health care infrastructure is outdated, and the COVID-19 pandemic has put it under considerable strain.
Tuesday's fire was the second such incident within a few days in Russia. On Saturday, a fire in the intensive-care unit in a Moscow hospital killed one COVID-19 patient and led to the evacuation of some 200 other people.