Dejected resident outside El Refugio nursing home
  • Dejected resident outside El Refugio nursing home
  • photo from Frontera
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Six residents of a Tijuana nursing home died Friday, October 27, and two others were injured when a fire swept through the crowded facility in Colonia Flores Magón, according to multiple press accounts.

The victims ranged in age from 63 to 78. Four died from smoke inhalation, two were burned to death and two others were hospitalized at Tijuana General Hospital.

According to El Sol de Tijuana, the fire began in the infirmary area of the nonprofit El Refugio nursing home about 6 a.m. Witnesses told authorities that a resident of the home used a cigarette lighter to set a sheet on fire, which quickly spread.

At the time of the blaze, more than 150 people were inside the home, the newspaper reported. All of the dead and injured were housed in the infirmary area.

The facility was equipped with fire extinguishers, which were used by staff members to prevent the blaze from spreading, while others helped residents escape the building using pre-established evacuation routes, according to El Sol.

Marco Antonio Sotomayor, secretary of public security for Tijuana, told the newspaper that El Refugio has been taking in the elderly homeless, some of whom were rescued while wandering the streets.

The nursing home had been scheduled for a major inspection by state authorities on Wednesday, November 1, El Sol reported in a separate story.

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