RIYADH: A large number of patients, doctors and paramedical staff were evacuated from a Riyadh hospital Sunday when a fire broke out among electrical cables.
The fire caused a massive amount of black billowing smoke that soon enveloped the multi-story Al-Hammadi Hospital, causing panic among staff and sending hundreds into the adjoining streets.
“No one was killed, and no major injuries were reported,” said Captain Mohammed A. Al-Hammadi, a spokesman of the Civil Defense, here Sunday.
The fire broke out Sunday evening in the 300-bed hospital on the northeast end of the densely populated Olaya District of the capital city, which is packed with major businesses and multi-story skyscrapers, including the iconic Kingdom Tower.
In a brief telephone interview with Arab News, the Civil Defense spokesman said that “the incident was caused by burning electrical cables at the base of the outpatient clinics of the hospital.”
“We rushed fire brigades immediately upon notification,” said Al-Hammadi, adding that firefighters, in cooperation with Saudi Red Crescent cadres, evacuated occupants of the hospital including patients.
He said that “Civil Defense operations were underway to normalize the situation at the hospital.” It was also not immediately known whether hospital wards or equipment were damaged.
But, a paramedical staff at the hospital, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the incident as “serious.”
She, however, commended the efforts of the firefighters, who responded swiftly to Al-Hammadi Hospital to clear smoke from hospital wards and departments. She pointed out that the hospital corridors and adjacent elevators were cordoned off, while Civil Defense rescue officials cleared smoke and began an investigation into the origin of the blaze which caused the massive smoke. She said that hospital staffers also later helped ventilate some of the smoke.
Al-Hammadi Hospital is one of the modern medical facilities in Riyadh, which started operations in 1985. The hospital currently provides a wide range of medical services through its inpatient departments and outpatient clinics.

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