Uruguay Nursing Home Fire Claims 10 Lives

(AFP) — All ten elderly residents of an Uruguayan nursing home died Sunday after an early-morning fire from which the lone caretaker was the only person to escape, authorities said.

Eight women and two men died from the blaze at the six-roomed facility in the city of Treinta y Tres in the South American country’s east, according to an official statement.

Firefighters found the main entrance shuttered on their arrival, it added. Once inside, they found a fire in the living room with smoke having spread throughout the facility.

A 20-year-old caretaker had managed to get out safely through a garage, said the statement.

Seven of the residents died on the scene from smoke inhalation, while three others were rushed to hospital in a critical condition, but did not survive.

The incident came just ten days after a fire at another nursing home for the elderly and people with psychiatric disorders in the city of Melo, also in Uruguay’s east.

In that case, a 77-year-old man and 72-year-old woman died in hospital after they were evacuated with 40 other residents.

Sixteen per cent of Uruguay’s 3.4 million inhabitants is over the age of 65, a proportion that is growing.