According to official media CCTV, at least 21 people were killed in a fire that ripped through a hospital in China’s capital Beijing on Tuesday.
Amateur footage showed individuals hanging from the building’s façade in an attempt to escape the conflagration, which began about 1 p.m. local time (1 a.m. ET) in what Chinese official media described as Changfeng Hospital’s inpatient section.
“As of 6pm local (6am EST), 21 people have unfortunately died,” CCTV said. Moreover, 71 patients were evacuated.
The fire is one of the deadliest in Beijing in recent years, having killed 19 people in a tiny two-story building in Daxing district, the capital’s southern neighborhood.
That tragedy prompted authorities to demolish large swathes of buildings deemed illegal or unsafe in the neighborhood and forced thousands of migrant workers out of their homes and businesses.
In videos shared on social media Tuesday, smoke can be seen billowing out of several hospital windows as people attempt to escape the blaze. At least one person appears to use a rope made from bedsheets to descend from a window to a lower level terrace.
Others people are seen either sitting on air conditioning units positioned on the exterior of the building, or trying to use the units to maneuver from one level to the next. One person is seen jumping from one level of the building to the lower terrace.
It is unclear if all those seen outside the building escaped the fire or not.
At least two ladders are seen leaning against the building amid rescue efforts.
Several other clips that showed the exterior of the building and were posted on Weibo have since been removed.
CCTV state media reports that the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Source | CNN