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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fire Kills 30 in Belarus Hospital

MINSK, Belarus -- A fire whipped through a wooden mental hospital in Belarus on Sunday, killing 30 patients, the government said. Officials said the fire was likely set by one of the patients.

Emergency workers initially pulled 29 bodies from the wreckage of the nearly century-old building, and one person died later of burns, in the fire in the village of Randilovshchina, some 250 kilometers west of the capital, Minsk, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

Thirty-one patients received minor injuries and were sent to nearby psychiatric hospitals, it said. No staff were killed or injured in the blaze. A total of 62 patients were housed in the hospital.

A spokeswoman for President Alexander Lukashenko, Natalya Petkevich, said the fire was set by a patient who was known to be a pyromaniac and had tried to burn down the building on two previous occasions. She said the patient was killed.

When the fire broke out, a nurse and orderly who were on duty were asleep in a separate building. When they awoke to patients' screams and the smell of smoke, they unlocked what doors they could and tried to extinguish the fire.