MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian doctors stayed behind in a burning, tsarist-era hospital in the country’s Far East on Friday to complete open-heart surgery after a fire broke out on the roof while they were operating.
Firefighters who took more than two hours to put out the blaze in the city of Blagoveshchensk said they used fans to keep smoke out of the operating room and ran in a power cable to keep it supplied with electricity.
A group of eight doctors and nurses completed the operation in two hours before removing the patient to another site, the emergencies ministry said.
“There’s nothing else we could do. We had to save the person. We did everything at the highest level,” surgeon Valentin Filatov was quoted as saying by REN TV. He said it had been a heart by-pass operation.
The ministry said 128 people were immediately evacuated from the hospital as the fire broke out on the roof.
“The clinic was built more than a century ago, in 1907, and the fire spread like lightning through the wooden ceilings of the roof,” the ministry said.
No one was reported hurt.
“A bow to the medics and firefighters,” said Vasiliy Orlov, the local regional governor.
(Reporting by Maria Vasilyeva; writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Hugh Lawson)