A fire in a nursing home for dementia patients in the Czech Republic poses enormous challenges for emergency services. Many of the residents are bedridden or in wheelchairs – two people die and many are injured.

Two people died and more than 50 people were injured in a fire in a retirement and nursing home for dementia patients in the Czech Republic.

The two dead were discovered during the final extinguishing work at night, said a spokesman for the rescue service. The fire broke out on Wednesday evening in the retirement home in Roztoky, north of Prague, for reasons that are still unclear.

According to the information, two residents were in critical condition. Two people were moderately severe, 51 others were slightly injured. The patients were distributed to surrounding hospitals. The staff at the facility were able to get to safety, it said. The mayor of the city, Jan Jakob, spoke on television of a “big catastrophe”.

Flames erupted from the top floor of the building. The residents had to be rescued from their rooms using ladders through the windows. Many of them were bedridden or immobile. The rescue workers were on site with a large contingent, including two helicopters and a large ambulance.

The fire brigade declared the highest alert level. At times, around 100 emergency services fought the fire, which could only be brought under control after more than eight hours. Fire-fighting water was pumped from the nearby Vltava. The property damage to the building is estimated at at least 70 million crowns (around 2.8 million euros).

According to information on its website, the retirement home has specialized in the care of dementia patients such as Alzheimer’s patients.