24 dead in Azerbaijan drug rehab center fire

Government cites defect in power grid as initial cause of the blaze in capital Baku

Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan (CC BY-SA Diego Delso/Wikipedia)
Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan (CC BY-SA Diego Delso/Wikipedia)

BAKU, Azerbaijan — Twenty four people died as a result of a fire that tore through a drug rehabilitation clinic in the Azerbaijani capital Baku early Friday, officials said.

“At 6:10 a.m. a fire happened at the Republican Narcological Center in Baku,” the General Prosecutor’s Office and the health, interior and emergencies ministries said in a joint statement.

“The bodies of 24 people have been found.”

The blaze tore through a one-story wooden ward, the statement added.

It cited a defect of the power grid as the initial cause of the blaze.

Earlier Friday Azerbaijan’s APA news agency reported that at least 30 people had perished in the blaze.

It said the fire broke out in a ward for bed-ridden patients.

Firefighters and rescuers of the country’s emergencies ministry extinguished the blaze and were investigating the causes.

The ex-Soviet Caucasus nation has a history of large-scale casualties as a result of fires in residential buildings and elsewhere.

In May 2015, 15 people – including five minors — were killed by a fire in a multi-story building in Baku.

In October 1995, 289 people died in a metro fire in Baku, in the world’s deadliest subway disaster that was caused by outdated Soviet equipment.

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