Rome, July 7 (EFE).- Six elderly people lost their lives, and scores of others suffered injuries after a massive fire at a retirement home in Milan early on Friday, according to Italian authorities.
The blaze started in one of the rooms of the retirement home around 1.20 a.m. Two women, aged 69 and 87, who were in the room, were charred to death.
The other four victims are two women aged 75 and 84 and two men aged 85 and 73. They died due to asphyxiation and smoke poisoning that affected the building’s first floor.
More than 81 people were injured and have been admitted to a hospital. Two of them are in serious condition.
The cause of the fire in the “Casa dei Coniugi” nursing home was not known as of yet. The Milan fire services said it could have been “an accidental fire” but the investigation was on.
The home housed 167 people at the time of the fire. Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala visited the place early in the morning.
He said the inmates had to be evacuated “one by one” due to their health conditions.
“It could have been worse,” said Sala, hoping the two hospitalized people in a critical situation would recover.
The staff personnel sounded the alarm that allowed the control of flames quicly since only one room was affected.
But the smoke spread quickly throughout the residence. All the people hospitalized had more or less severe symptoms of smoke inhalation, but no patient suffered burns.
“(The fire) did not spread, not even to the neighboring rooms, but the smoke is just as deadly and the four other victims died of smoke inhalation,” the mayor said.
Two patients were hospitalized in code red, the most serious, while the rest carried milder symptoms.
The home, in a popular neighborhood of southeast Milan, is owned by the City Council and managed by the Proges cooperative, which controls 300 centers of the type in 11 regions.
The centers house the elderly with various levels of dependency. EFE