Fukuoka, Japan — A hospital fire killed 10 elderly people in southern Japan on Friday, police said.
Eight patients and two hospital workers died in the blaze that started at 2:20 am on the ground floor of the four-story orthopaedic hospital in Fukuoka and took over two hours to put out, according to reports.
All of those who died were between the ages of 70 and 89, said police. At least 17 people were in the hospital when the fire broke out.
And eyewitness said the ground floor “was red with flames and was filled with smoke. The part where beds were located seemed to be burning”.
Police said the cause of the fire is yet to be determined.
A fire station official told reporters at a press conference: “We did our best in fire-fighting to save lives…but it was a difficult situation.”
“We received news of the fire at a very late stage, and there had been no attempt [by staff] to tackle the fire in its early stages.”
“Patients… were exposed to a lot of smoke because fire doors that would have stemmed the flow had been left open,” he added.
“We will start an investigation [into the source of the fire].”
Officials said eight other people were also injured by the fire, and several are in critical condition.
The fire has prompted government demands for safety reviews across the country. Image/AP