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Clinic Director: Cause of Fire at Greek Hospital Still Unknown

THESSALONIKI – The cause of the fire in the Covid ward at Thessaloniki’s “Papanikolaou” hospital remains unknown, the director of the clinic Dr. Stavros Tryfon told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) radio on Thursday.

Two people died as a result of the fire, one incinerated and the second of burn injuries, while a third sustained serious burns but was out of danger on Thursday.

According to Tryfon, the fire was initially fuelled by the oxygen supply in the room and reached terrifically high temperatures, which literally melted the fire-extinguishing system in the ward, but investigators have found no clues to indicate what started the blaze.

According to the doctor, the second patient that died reported that a mobile phone he was holding in his left hand had exploded “but the fire brigade has not found traces of any mobile mechanism or cigarette butts or a lighter.” In light of this, it was hard to safely say what caused the fire, he added.

“We know where it happened, we know which person it started from but we don’t know the cause. We are certain there was no issue with the facilities…consequently, it was caused by him, the deceased, but we don’t know how.”

He stressed that there was a fire-extinguishing system in the ward, as well as fire extinguishers outside of every ward but that these were unable to put out the terrific heat generated by the oxygen-fuelled fire.

He said the staff had acted swiftly to cut off the oxygen supply and electricity, noting that the staff had been trained in a fire brigade drill in 2018.

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