Blaze engulfs Istanbul hospital, patients evacuated
Despite the size of the fire, the city’s governor said there were no immediate reports of casualties
A huge fire engulfed a hospital in Istanbul on Thursday, forcing patients to evacuate as firefighters battled the smoke and flames.
Local officials said there had been no reports of casualties although some patients may have been affected by the smoke.
The blaze, which started in the roof, turned the side of the building into a burned-out shell, sending a massive black cloud into the sky.
Patients, some wearing oxygen masks, were wheeled into the street in their beds while mothers were forced to leave clutching babies.
Firefighters used elevation lifts to try to extinguish the fire at the top of the multi-storey hospital building in the Gaziosmanpasa district of Istanbul.
Speaking at the scene, Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin said the fire services had brought the blaze partly under control.
Echoing comments by other officials, he said there were no current reports of casualties.
“So far there is no sad news. God willing, it will stay that way,” he told the crowds outside in comments broadcast by television.
Witnesses told Turkish television that the flames spread rapidly around the side of the building.
“The fire was knocking against the windows. It was terrifying,” one woman told CNN-Turk, without giving her name.
Sahin later said that the fire had been on the outer part of the building – rather than the inside – but that a “lot of smoke” had penetrated the building.
He added that some 70 patients had been evacuated outside and that those in intensive care moved to a secure place inside the hospital that was not affected.
There was no immediate information on the cause of the blaze, but Sahin said two prosecutors had been tasked to investigate.
Pictures showed scenes of panic as staff and patients flooded into the street to escape.
Health Minister Ahmet Demircan, who came to the scene, has informed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of developments, Turkish television said.