Page last updated at 11:09 GMT, Tuesday, 26 May 2009 12:09 UK

Eight die in Turkey hospital fire

Patients stand outside the Sevket Yilmaz hospital (26 May 2009)
Investigators are trying to establish the exact cause of the blaze

Eight patients in an intensive care ward have died after an overnight fire at a hospital in north-western Turkey.

Health Minister Recep Akdag said five men and three women had died during the blaze at the Sevket Yilmaz hospital in Bursa or after they were evacuated.

The fire is thought to have been caused by an electrical fault in the basement.

Bursa governor Sahabettin Harputlu said the patients might have died from smoke inhalation or because the power supply of their life-support machines was cut.

Investigators are trying to establish the exact cause of the fire, which sent thick smoke into the ventilation system.

The children's ward was also badly affected and more than a dozen children were among the more than 30 people receiving treatment for smoke inhalation at nearby hospitals on Tuesday.

Mr Akdag praised the hospital's staff and firefighters for risking their lives to evacuate patients during the blaze.

"We might have faced a greater disaster if the response was delayed and the fire spread to the whole hospital," he added.

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