Fire at Saudi hospital kills 25

A fire tore through the intensive care unit and the maternity ward of a Saudi hospital before dawn on Thursday, killing at least 25 people and injuring 123, officials said.

The fire broke out at the general hospital in the southwestern port city of Jazan, the capital of the Jizan region, one of Saudi Arabia’s poorest areas.

Government-controlled al-Ekhbariya television interviewed a witness who said the cause of the fire seemed to be electrical, and that it took only three minutes to sweep through the hospital.

“We could hear the women screaming,” said the man, who was not named.

A correspondent for Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television reported he had seen several emergency doors locked with chains when he visited the hospital after the disaster. He said the hospital had previously received official warnings over safety violations.