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At least 4 dead after fire breaks out in hospital in Rome

By Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN

Rome (CNN) — At least four people have died and more than 200 people evacuated after a devastating fire broke out near the mortuary of the San Giovanni Evangelista hospital in the Roman suburb of Tivoli late Friday night, according to Italy’s fire brigade.

The fire broke out on the lower level between the mortuary, clinic and kitchen area at around 10:30 p.m. local time (4:30 p.m. ET) and quickly spread to the emergency room area on the floor above.

Witnesses who were in the emergency room waiting for treatment said the electricity went out and the fire seemed to then engulf the entire wing quickly, according to Italian press reports.

Two of the four victims died as a result of smoke inhalation, one died from a heart attack and one as a result of burns. Other bodies that were in the mortuary at the time were also burned, the fire brigade said.

Seven children and several newborns were among those evacuated. A hospital spokesperson told CNN affiliate Sky24 that 134 of the evacuees were transferred to nearby hospitals.

A fire brigade spokesperson said the wiring at the building and some of the chemicals stored there could be some of the possible causes for the fire.

Firefighters fought the fire for around five hours and will conduct a thorough search for more victims once the structure has cooled.

The hospital, part of the city of Rome’s health system, was first constructed in 1337.

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