Firefighter in Tetovo: We tried to get as many people out as possible, we didn’t see if they were alive or dead (overview)

14 COVID patients burned in hospital, will be recognized by DNA

At least 14 people were burned in a fire at a hospital for patients with COVID-19 in Tetovo, northern Macedonia, local media reported. The information was confirmed on Twitter by the Minister of Health Venko Filipche. He initially announced that the death toll could rise. But on Thursday it became clear that there was no danger to the lives of the other 12 patients who were rescued from the flames. According to official data, a total of 26 people were accommodated in the ward at the time of the fire.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev wrote on Facebook that the “huge tragedy” was caused by an explosion, but did not reveal details. “The fire was extinguished, but many lives were extinguished. I express my sincere condolences to the families and relatives of the deceased and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, “he added.

An investigation team has been formed and the government in Skopje has convened an extraordinary meeting. It is unknown at this time whether

the tragedy

is related to


of pipes for


However, according to some sources, this is what caused the explosion.

The investigation is also hampered by the fact that additional measures need to be taken, as all those killed were infected with the coronavirus. Five prosecutors from Tetovo and Skopje are investigating the causes of the incident, have requested an autopsy of the victims, and DNA analysis will be needed to identify some of them, as they have

burnt before


The fire broke out around 9 pm local time (10 pm Bulgarian time). Ironically, the terrible incident happened on Independence Day, when northern Macedonia marked 30 years since the referendum on secession from Yugoslavia. Following the news of the deaths, the festivities were canceled.

According to the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, there are currently no official data on Bulgarian citizens killed or injured in the fire. “Our embassy in Skopje is in contact with local authorities and is monitoring the situation closely,” the mission said.

“On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria and on my behalf, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families and relatives of the victims. In this sad moment, our thoughts are together with all of them “, said in a telegram the acting Foreign Minister Svetlan Stoev.

There are no casualties among the medical staff, Sloboden Pechat writes. Jovana T. from Tetovo told the same media that

her father and sister

were the last

pulled through

the windows

at the hospital. The father was with COVID, and her sister accompanied him because there were not enough staff. Most of the survivors survived thanks to their companions.

The fire started from the next room, the woman said. Her sister heard voices from there that a girl was dying. The fire broke out while trying to resuscitate the girl with a defibrillator, and the plug broke, is her version. The woman was shocked by the subsequent sight of burnt people being taken out of the ward.

Dozens of firefighters with 7 cars took part in controlling the fire. The teams talk about “huge flames” that started inside the modular center made of plastic. The extinguishing took about half an hour, but the whole building burned down. “We tried to get as many people out as possible. We didn’t see if they were alive or dead, “a firefighter told Vecher newspaper. According to President Stevo Pendarovski, there is no evidence that the fire was caused intentionally.

According to Macedonian media, in early April this year, experts warned that the COVID ward at the hospital in the town of Tetovo should not be put into operation due to


Investigators are investigating the cause of the fire.

Investigators are investigating the cause of the fire. PHOTO: Reuters

violations at


The economic director of the hospital, Artam Etemi, then stated that “mistakes were made in the construction of the ward and the contractor must eliminate all irregularities.” On Thursday, the Ministry of Health denied this information and stated that mobile hospitals are being built according to all standards. Authorities called on citizens and the media to refrain from speculating about the tragedy.

Until the early hours of the morning, investigators questioned hospital staff. An order has been issued to provide all video surveillance footage around the building. The clarification of the circumstances on the spot continued on Thursday, Deutsche Welle reported, citing the prosecutor’s office.

Tetovo, populated mainly by ethnic Albanians, is among the cities most severely affected by the pandemic in RS Macedonia. The country has seen a sharp jump in those in the past month, despite efforts to speed up the immunization campaign.

Shortly after the tragedy, Zaev arrived on the scene with Filipche and the leader of his coalition partner, the Democratic Union for Integration, Ali Ahmeti. A 3-day mourning period has been announced for the victims until September 11. The Red Cross announced that

will relax


financial help

of families

of the dead

in the amount of 30,000 denars (about 1,000 levs).

According to the Macedonian newspaper Kurir, social networks are boiling with outrage over demands for the resignation of ministers and other officials at the national and local levels. Parliament has also asked for foreign NATO experts to be involved in the investigation.



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