A hundred years ago, MAY 20, 1922 Archives

Fire in hospital

Rome, May 18: Fire has destroyed a ward in incurable patients hospital of Holy Ghost. Sixteen bodies have hitherto been recovered.

Rome, May 19: Fire in the hospital of the Holy Ghost which is the oldest and most famous in Rome and which houses eight hundred patients broke out at midnight in the laundry rooms. Fire was not noticed, until the flames burst through into the wards. Electric lights were severed and thus the wards were plunged into darkness. This made it necessary for helpers to use torches and so added to the terror of the inmates. The majority of deaths occurred in the chronic ward where the patients dragged themselves from their beds and gathered together in a corner. Then the floor collapsed and twenty persons were precipitated below followed by burning wood and bedding. After that most of the patients were let down in sheets through the windows owing to the way down the stairs being too precarious. Twenty fire engines succeeded in circumscribing the area of the conflagration which was finally extinguished at ten o’clock in the morning. All victims were between 50 and 70 years of age.  

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