Search underway for people evacuated after fatal hospital fire
Families are frantically looking for their relatives who were evacuated to other hospitals after an inferno at a Beijing hospital took 21 lives, most of whom were elderly, bed-ridden or terminally ill on Tuesday.
The deadly fire that broke out at the inpatient department of Beijing Changfeng Hospital at 12:57pm has killed 21 and another 71 patients have been transferred to other hospitals.
The private hospital, which specializes in treating vascular diseases, admitted many patients who were elderly, seriously ill or at the end of life. Due to their limited mobility and the fire starting on the fifth floor or higher of the building, evacuations were challenging, according to China Central Television.
Many family members were initially unaware of the fire until learning about it on social media or television news reporting.
Some were informed of where their family members have been transferred while others were told to wait for further notices.
Most of the unaccounted patients in the hospital fire are elderly individuals who are either unable to flee or communicate. Some depend on nasal feeding, and others have undergone amputations, as reported.
When the fire broke out, Wang Chunhua, who works as a nurse on the eighth floor of the building, the top floor, had to climb down a water pipe before jumping off the building to escape the fire. Wang's clothes were covered in black soot, reported China Youth Daily.
Online footage shows patients twisting bed sheets together and sliding down them from windows. Some people were waiting for rescue while seated on the external air-conditioning units.
A drone was seen hovering over the hospital building, repeatedly broadcasting the message: "Please remain calm and wait for rescue."
Due to the incident, Beijing Changfeng Hospital Co Ltd has been suspended from trading on the National Equities Exchange and Quotations, the bourse announced.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.