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Algeria Says 8 Newborns Die in Fire at Maternity Hospital

Algeria Says 8 Newborns Die in Fire at Maternity Hospital

Tuesday, 24 September, 2019 - 08:30
Algerians play football in the street in the Bab el-Oued neighborhood in Algiers on October 11, 2016. (Getty Images)

Eight newborns were killed Tuesday in a fire in the maternity wing of an Algerian hospital near the border with Tunisia, authorities said.

"We managed to rescue 11 babies, 107 women and 28 staff" after the 3:50 am (0250 GMT) fire in the hospital in Oued Souf, 500 kilometers (300 miles) southeast of Algiers, spokesman Captain Nassim Bernaoui told AFP.

The health minister said the blaze may have been caused by a defective anti-mosquito device.

The national emergency service said in a statement that the fire was under control but not yet extinguished.

Three babies died of burns and five of asphyxiation, the emergency service revealed.

Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui ordered an inquiry and sent Health Minister Mohamed Miraoui to the scene of the fire.

It was the second blaze to hit the maternity hospital in Oued Souf in 18 months. A fire in May last year caused significant damage but no casualties.

The hospital is one of five in the town, including a specialist eye hospital staffed by Cuban doctors.

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