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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Fire kills 24 at Azerbaijan drug rehabilitation centre

The blaze tore through a one-storey wooden ward at the drug centre in the capital

Police officers cordon off the site of a fire at a drug rehabilitation clinic in the Azerbaijani capital Baku on March 2, 2018. Officials said 24 people died as a result of the early morning fire. Tofik Babayev / AFP
Police officers cordon off the site of a fire at a drug rehabilitation clinic in the Azerbaijani capital Baku on March 2, 2018. Officials said 24 people died as a result of the early morning fire. Tofik Babayev / AFP

Twenty-four people died in a fire that tore through a drug rehabilitation clinic in the Azerbaijani capital Baku early on Friday.

"At 06.10am a fire happened at the Republican Narcological Centre in Baku," the General Prosecutor's Office, the health, interior and emergencies ministries said in a joint statement.

"The bodies of 24 people have been found."

The blaze tore through a one-storey wooden ward, the statement added.

It cited a defect in the power grid as the initial cause of the blaze.

Azerbaijan's APA news agency had reported earlier that at least 30 people perished in the blaze.

It said the fire broke out in a ward for bed-ridden patients.

Firefighters and rescuers of the emergencies ministry have extinguished the blaze and are investigating the causes.

The ex-Soviet Caucasus nation has a history of large-scale casualties as a result of fires in residential buildings and elsewhere.

In May 2015, 15 people - including five minors - were killed by a fire in a multi-storey building in Baku.

In October 1995, 289 people died in a metro fire in Baku, in the world's deadliest subway disaster that was caused by outdated Soviet equipment.