Istanbul hospital fire forces evacuation of patients

All patients have been moved to nearby hospitals after a fire broke out at a hospital in Istanbul, Turkey’s state-run media Anadolu reported Thursday evening, citing Turkey’s Minister for Health.

Firefighters continued to tackle the blaze several hours after the fire started on the roof of the Taksim Training and Research Hospital in Gaziosmanpasa, a district in the northern part of the city. About 70 patients were evacuated.

Hasan Tahsin Usta, mayor of Gaziosmanpasa, said that the fire, which spread down the outside of the building, was almost under control and no casualties had been reported, according to Anadolu.

Footage posted to social media showed flames on the hospital facade.

Speaking to CNN Turk, Bahriye (who did not give her last name) said she was with her mother, a patient in the hospital, on the second floor when the fire broke out.

“I just heard many noises, people were screaming and yelling,” she said. “There was no fire alarm, just people screaming. I opened the door, it was all smoke. You couldn’t see anyone, all of a sudden smoke came inside our room…. Flames were outside the window — that’s why we were so scared.”

She said she called for help and someone came and carried her mother, who could not get up unaided, out of the hospital.

“It was so dark and I went after them but I don’t know how I got downstairs,” Bahriye said. She lost her mother in the process. “I still don’t know where my mom is,” she said.

At first response, patients who could be moved had been evacuated and intensive care patients were being held in a safe location inside the hospital, Istanbul Gov. Vasip Sahin told reporters.

As night fell, Minister for Health Ahmet Demircan said all patients had been moved to nearby hospitals by ambulance, according to Anadolu.

Firefighters from several districts of Istanbul responded to the emergency and worked with medical teams to bring patients to safety while hospital staff worked to salvage medical equipment as the evening progressed.

Sahin said that the fire had been confined to the outside of the hospital and that the evacuations had been carried out due to smoke entering the building.

The patients were taken by ambulance to private and public hospitals in the area, according to Sahin. He said the cause of the fire was not yet known and that several prosecutors had already been tasked with investigating the blaze

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was informed by the minister for health, Anadolu reported.