Two die in hospital fire in Cyprus

Two people died in a fire that broke out on Friday in a hospital in the Turkish Cypriot part of Cyprus’ divided capital Nicosia, Turkish Cypriot authorities said.

They reported that two male patients, aged 74 and 62 respectively, were injured in the fire and died after they were transferred to a private hospital in Nicosia.

Turkish Cypriot authorities also said that about 300 other patients were evacuated and transferred to other hospitals.

The fire broke out at about 6:45 a.m. local time (0445 GMT) in the cardiovascular surgery department, located at the second floor of the biggest hospital in the Turkish Cypriot side of the eastern Mediterranean island.

First reports said that the fire started after an explosion of an oxygen cylinder.

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said in a tweet that he sent a message through a bi-communal committee on health issues to the effect that Cypriot authorities stood ready to help.

“We expressed our readiness to help in any way we are asked,” Ioannou tweeted.

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci who visited the gutted hospital early in the morning said the day “started with bitter news.”