8 killed, 12 hurt as fire sweeps through Spanish nursing home

MADRID: A fire swept through a nursing home early Sunday outside Spain's northeastern city of Zaragoza, killing eight elderly residents and injuring 12 other people, officials said.

Regional Interior Ministry spokesman Gustavo Alcalde said 11 residents of the Santa Fe home and one of its caretakers were hospitalised. He said the cause of the fire was being investigated.

One man with serious burns was in critical condition in the intensive care unit of a local hospital, regional health spokesman Sebastian Celeya said, adding the others were suffering from smoke inhalation.

The fire appears to have started in a first floor bedroom of the three-story building, fire brigade spokesman Carlos Carilla said. The fire department had received a phone call from a person asking for help in evacuating elderly people who said a mattress had caught on fire.

Celaya said the occupant of the bedroom where the fire looks to have started had died as well as a next-door neighbor, and those in bedrooms directly above died from smoke inhalation.

Alcalde praised the rapid response by fire and police officials but called it "a very sad day" in Zaragoza.