A sign outside the Austrian hospital where the blaze broke out warns people not to smoke (Picture: Alex Halada/AFP)
A fire that killed three patients at a hospital in Austria is believed to have been started by a cigarette.
Emergency services were called to the scene of the blaze at the hospital in Mödling, less than seven miles from the capital Vienna, at around 1am today.
Matthias Hofer, a spokesman for Lower Austria province’s health agency, told the Austrian Press Agency that rescuers were unable to save three people in the fourth-floor room where the fire began.
Investigators believe it originated in the bed of a 75-year-old man who was a heavy smoker.
He died alongside two other men aged 78 and 81, who were also patients in the four-person room.
The fourth patient was not in the room at the time and was unharmed, but a woman was slightly injured.
Police spokesman Stefan Loidl said evidence points to a cigarette having been the cause.
Around 90 patients were evacuated from the hospital building as the internal medicine ward filled with smoke.
Around 90 patients had to be evacuated from the hospital in Mödling this morning (Picture: Johann Schwarz/SEPA.Media/Getty Images)
Some were transferred to different parts of the hospital, while others were taken to a clinic in the nearby town of Baden.
Firefighters had extinguished the blaze by 3am.
Two months ago, a room was destroyed at Croyden University Hospital in London after a fire broke out and forced the closure of the A&E department.
Staff and patients had to evacuate the site, but nobody was injured in the incident.
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The fire is thought to have started in the bed of a patient who was a heavy smoker.