UPDATE WITH NEW FOOTAGE: 14 Dead As Huge Blaze Rages Through Temporary COVID Hospital

This is the moment a fire quickly spreads through a temporary COVID-19 hospital in North Macedonia where so far it has been confirmed that 14 patients have died.

The incident took place in modular buildings used to treat coronavirus patients in the city of Tetovo in North Macedonia last night at around 9 pm.

DNA analysis will be needed to identify some of the victims of the fire as the bodies were so badly burned.

Fire at COVID centre in Tetovo, North Macedonia on 8th September 2021. (@adi.ismaili/Newsflash)

The Public Prosecutor of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, in cooperation with members of the Ministry of Interior, carried out an investigation during the night.

At this moment, the authorities have identified most of the 14 victims and ordered autopsies on their bodies.

The official report has confirmed that there were 26 people in the hospital, 12 people have been relocated in the nearby hospital in Tetovo.

Fire at COVID centre in Tetovo, North Macedonia on 8th September 2021. (@adi.ismaili/Newsflash)

Oxygen cylinders used to treat coronavirus patients reportedly exploded, worsening the situation.

One woman survivor who was among the last to escape alive told local media: “The fire broke out because they were trying to resuscitate a girl that was in the hospital. While resuscitating her with a defibrillator, a socket burst. A few seconds later, my sister heard screams of panic and then there was a fire. “

The same witness says that her father who was a patient in the hospital was saved only because she was able to take him out through the window.

Fire at COVID centre in Tetovo, North Macedonia on 8th September 2021. (@adi.ismaili/Newsflash)

She added: “I was trying to save the other two men that were in the room with my father, but it was too late the fire spread too fast, I had to go, it is an image I will never forget – seeing people being burned alive.”

The modular Covid unit was built last year to help deal with the pandemic but only started accepting patients in April 2021 after a period of delays, with the local authorities blaming the central government, the health ministry, and the building contractor.

The Ministry of Health claims that all 19 modular Covid hospitals in the country, including Tetovo, which burned in the terrible fire are typical facilities, built to the highest medical and safety standards.

Fire at COVID centre in Tetovo, North Macedonia on 8th September 2021. (@adi.ismaili/Newsflash)

Therefore they rule out the possibility that there were omissions in the construction and say all of them met the approved technical specifications.

The North Macedonian cabinet was at an emergency meeting today at 10am to discuss the tragedy, and also accepted an offer from neighbouring countries for foreign experts to look into the tragedy.

Tetovo has a population of around 50 000 people, and there are currently 1,456 active cases of COVID-19 in the city.

Fire at COVID centre in Tetovo, North Macedonia, on 8th September 2021. (Newsflash)

The government has declared three days of mourning throughout the country for the accident in the COVID centre in Tetovo.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev will receive a detailed report on the incident before making a further announcement. He also sent his condolences to the victims’ families on social media.

The country of two million people, with a fragile health system being stretched to its limits, is currently experiencing delays with its vaccine rollout programme, according to local media.

At the scene where a fire broke at the COVID centre in Tetovo, North Macedonia, on 8th September 2021. (Newsflash)

As of 9th September, 6,153 people have died with COVID-19 in the Balkan country of 2,077 million.

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