A fire broke out Friday morning at a hospital in Romania’s port city of Constanta, leaving an unspecified number of people dead, authorities said.

Evacuation efforts are underway at the site of the blaze at Constanta’s Hospital for Infectious Diseases as emergency services race to evacuate patients and staff.

“We confirm that there are dead people,” the health ministry said in a statement, adding that more details will be given at a news conference at an unspecified time.

The health ministry said that 113 patients were in the medical unit of the hospital, 10 of whom were intensive care unit patients.

Last November, 10 people died after a fire tore through an intensive care unit for COVID-19 patients in the northern town of Piatra Neamt. Another blaze in January engulfed a ward at Bucharest’s Matei Bals hospital, killing at least 5 people.

Romania, a European Union country of 19 million, has had two other deadly hospital fires within the past year, which has raised concerns about the country’s ageing hospital infrastructure.

 After the Matei Bals fire, President Klaus Iohannis called for urgent and “profound” reform. He said tragedies like it “must not happen again.”


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