An oxygen supply shed caught fire and exploded at a hospital for Covid-19 patients in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. The moment of the powerful blast was captured in multiple videos.
The incident occurred in the southern Urals city on Friday, when a shed that housed a large oxygen canister caught fire at a local hospital. Some 170 patients, including 150 people with confirmed coronavirus, were in the hospital at the time of the blast. All the patients were safely evacuated.
Footage from the scene shows firefighters attempting to extinguish the blazing shed outside the hospital building. Realizing that the oxygen canister was about to explode, the first responders ran away from it moments before the tank blew up.
The blast obliterated the shed, as well as shattering windows in nearby buildings.
Two stories of the hospital itself, as well as several apartments in a nearby residential building caught fire as a result of the explosion. The residents were evacuated by the emergency services and the flames were promptly extinguished.
Some 20 fire engines and 76 personnel were involved in battling the flames, the local emergency services said. According to preliminary data, no one was injured or killed by the blast.
While Russian media suggested that at least two coronavirus patients at the hospital had died due to a lack of oxygen following the blast, local authorities have firmly denied such reports. An early assessment of the incident suggested that the leak and subsequent fire were caused by improper installation and mishandling of the oxygen tank, Chelyabinsk emergency services have said.
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