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Eight die in Turkey hospital fire

26 May 2009


BURSA: Eight patients in an intensive care ward have died after an overnight fire at a hospital in north-western Turkey.

Health Minister Recep Akdag said five men and three women had died during the blaze at the Sevket Yilmaz hospital in Bursa or after they were evacuated.

The fire is thought to have been caused by an electrical fault in the basement.

Bursa governor Sahabettin Harputlu said the patients might have died from smoke inhalation or because the power supply of their life-support machines was cut.


Investigators are trying to establish the exact cause of the fire, which sent thick smoke into the ventilation system.


The children's ward was also badly affected and more than a dozen children were among the more than 30 people receiving treatment for smoke inhalation at nearby hospitals on Tuesday.

Mr Akdag praised the hospital's staff and firefighters for risking their lives to evacuate patients during the blaze.


"We might have faced a greater disaster if the response was delayed and the fire spread to the whole hospital," he added.


Fire in Bursa State Hospital
Engineers Find Many Faults at Hospital after Fire

According to a preliminary examination by engineers, the Bursa hospital where a fire broke out was not prepared for an emergency.

Members of the Turkish Union of Chambers of Architects and Engineers (TMMOB) have identified multiple faults at the Bursa State Hospital where a fire broke out yesterday (26 May).

Eight patients from the intensive care unit died, either because the electricity cut caused their life-support systems to shut down, or because of smoke inhalation.

The delegation read a report in front of the hospital at 1 pm today. The experts said that the part of the hospital where the fire broke out had been added at a later stage, but that electrical and mechanical changes had not been made. In addition, no precautionary measures against a possible fire had been taken.

Erdal Aktug, secretary of Bursa's TMMOB coordination board, said that the architecture, static, electricity, fire and mechanical installations had not been inspected by the relevant professional chambers.
Regulations ignored, no precautions

The delegation's initial findings have been:

* The batteries for the fire sensor system were not charged
* The cables used for the electrical system were not fire-resistant. There was no fire sensor system in the installation shaft or in the suspended ceiling.
* The ventilation system in the intensive care and neo-natal units lacked necessary equipment.
* The cable shaft contained both electrical cables and supply tubes for flammable gas like oxygen.
* There was no fire insulation between the cable shaft and the floors.
* There were no fire compartments or inhibitors which could have stopped the spread of fire and smoke.
* Access to the cable shaft was covered by inflammable covers.
* The access to the shaft was from the intensive care unit, which was wrong.
* The electrical systems for the operating theatres and the intensive care unit did not conform to regulations.
* There were no emergency regulations for the electricity control rooms.

The TMMOB said that relevant engineers had to be employed full-time at such complex and technological buildings to ensure work safety and operating safety. In addition, the relevant professional associations had to carry out yearly inspections at such public and private buildings in order to prevent loss of life.

One recommendation in the report was that buildings used by many people be inspected immediately. Aktug also said that work places should be inspected by professional chambers when they started out


Prosecutor demands 15 years in Bursa hospital fire caseBURSA Following the deaths of nine individuals in a fire in the western province of Bursa’s Sevket Yilmaz State Hospital last year, a prosecutor has demanded 15 years’ imprisonment for the hospital’s head physician, a manager, two deputy managers and an electrical engineer.

The inquiry into the fire, which left nine intensive care unit patients dead when it broke out in the radiology department in the basement of the hospital on May. 26, 2009, was completed on Thursday. It is believed that technical failures at the hospital could have played a role in the outbreak of the fire. The former head physician of the hospital, Osman Naci Ç., manager Salim Ö., deputy managers Yakup G. and Mehmet G. and electrical engineer Süleyman K. were accused of causing the deaths of nine people through gross negligence and were recommended for prisons sentences of 15 years.

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