North Macedonia government to meet after blaze kills 14 at Covid hospital

Police officers secure the area for forensics team to investigate the site of destroyed field hospital following a fire in North Macedonia’s northwestern city of Tetov (Visar Kyreziu/AP) (AP)
8:30am, Thu 09 Sep 2021
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North Macedonia’s government will hold an emergency meeting over a fire overnight that ripped through a field hospital set up to treat Covid-19 patients, leaving at least 14 people dead.

The blaze broke out in the western city of Tetovo, where the hospital had been set up following a recent spike in infections in the region that left local hospitals full.

The main prosecutor’s office in the capital, Skopje, said 14 people had been killed in the blaze.

There were no medical personnel among them.

The prosecutor’s office ordered forensic experts to identify the remains.

A number of people were injured, though the exact figure was not immediately available.

A forensic officer works at the site (Visar Kryeziu/AP) (AP)

Five prosecutors, from Tetovo and Skopje, are working on the investigation into the causes of the fire.

The country’s prime minister Zoran Zaev said in a Facebok post that the blaze followed an explosion at the site.

It was unclear what caused the blast, but there was speculation that it was linked to oxygen supplies.

Health Ministry officials said the bodies of those who died were transferred to hospitals in the capital Skopje, about 30 miles to the east.

With less than 30% of the country’s roughly two million population fully vaccinated, North Macedonia has seen a significant spike in coronavirus infections and deaths since late August.

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