QUITO: Eighteen people were killed and 12 others injured in a fire at a rehabilitation clinic in the Ecuadorian port city of Guayaquil.
The fire, which was reported at 3:24 p.m. local time (2024 GMT) to the country’s emergency line ECU 911, occurred at the “New Life” clinic which houses alcoholics and drug addicts. At least 60 firefighters were sent to combat the blaze.
Most of the victims died of suffocation, according to Ecuadorian media El Universo.
Authorities have not disclosed the cause of the fire, though media quoted local police as saying that someone at the clinic might have set a mattress on fire on purpose.
Rehabilitation clinics for alcoholics and drug addicts in Ecuador are mostly privately run and a significant number of them remain unlicensed and potential fire hazards.