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AFP
November 16, 2020

Doctor hailed as hero as Romania hospital fire kills 10

AFP
November 16, 2020

BUCHAREST: A doctor left badly burned in a Romanian hospital fire that left 10 dead was hailed as a hero on Sunday after it emerged he had tried to help Covid-19 patients to safety.

After suffering second- and third-degree burns to 40 percent of his body, the doctor, named in local media as Catalin Denciu, was transferred to Belgium’s Queen Astrid military hospital on Sunday for specialised treatment.

"I express my respect for the heroic doctor who showed particular courage and spirit of sacrifice in trying to save the patients," Prime Minister Ludovic Orban told local media, in praise echoed by doctors’ unions and local media.

Ten people suffering from Covid-19 died in the fire late on Saturday in an intensive care unit of a hospital in the northeastern town of Piatra Neamt. The seven men and three women ranged in age from 67 to 86, the hospital said.

Six others were seriously injured.

The prosecutor general has opened an inquiry into the tragedy, while the health ministry has suggested the fire could have been caused by an electrical short circuit.

The blaze recalled Romania’s previous deadliest fire, at Bucharest’s Colectiv nightclub in October 2015, which left 64 people dead, and prompted angry questions over how it could have been allowed to happen. A survivor of the Colectiv disaster, Alexandra Furnea, called on authorities "to do what they didn’t do for us" and show that lessons had been learned over the past five years.