Russian surgeons successfully completed open-heart surgery on a patient while firefighters battled to contain a serious blaze engulfing the old building’s roof.
More than 120 people were evacuated and no injuries reported at the hospital in Blagoveshchensk in the far east.
The surgery continued thanks to an emergency electricity cable run into the ground-floor operating theatre as fans kept the smoke out.
The heart patient was evacuated later.
Lead surgeon Valentin Filatov said his team “had to save this person and we did everything”. Eight doctors and nurses were involved in the two-hour operation, which started just before the fire broke out.
Russia’s emergencies ministry said the hospital was built in 1907 in the tsarist era, and the blaze “spread like lightning through the wooden ceilings”. A short circuit is thought to have sparked the fire.
Medic Antonina Smolina said “there was no panic” among the hospital staff.
Amur regional governor Vasily Orlov praised the surgical team’s professionalism and the firefighters for putting out the blaze. They are now in line for awards.
It is the only hospital in the region with a specialist cardiological unit.