A 120-bed hospital in the town of Hirono, Fukushima Prefecture, which has been on the frontline of efforts to restore communities annihilated by the March 2011 quake, tsunami and nuclear calamity, has been thrown into crisis following the unexpected death last week of its aging and sole full-time doctor.

Dr. Hideo Takano, 81-year-old director of the privately run Takano Hospital, died from burns after a fire broke out at his home on the hospital grounds on the night of Dec. 30. The police are investigating the cause of the fire, but it is being treated as an accident.

Hirono Mayor Satoshi Endo told The Japan Times on Friday that the town is doing its best to keep the hospital and its 100 inpatients — about 50 bed-ridden elderly patients and 50 people in its psychiatric ward — alive.