Documents published by DW shift blame for the deadly Tetovo fire on the local municipal authorities

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The Macedonian edition of Deutsche Welle published documents from the contracts signed to build and oversee the work of the 19 improvised Covid hospitals. According to the documents, prepared in October 2020, the responsibility for overseeing the construction falls on the local municipal authorities and on the general hospital under which the Covid wards would operate.

The report seems to be the latest move to re-assign blame for the catastrophic fire on September 8th that killed 15 patients and visitors in the Tetovo ward, after the makeshift plastic structure burnt to the ground in just minutes. Officials from the World Bank, which co-sponsored the project, and the Labour and Welfare Ministry, were involved in the project, but the responsibility in case of fire falls on the hospital director, Deutsche Welle reports. The Albanian DUI party, which has held total power in Tetovo for much of the past two decades, faced protests from the families of the killed, who were joined by angry citizens on Friday.

The crony contract was awarded to two companies, one of them owned by Koco Angjusev, former Deputy Prime Minister in the Zoran Zaev led Government. According to DW, the project called for the use of environmentally friendly PUR insulation panels, which are highly flammable and are likely the main reason for the disaster.