Russian Federation calls off search for victims of mall fire

30 Марта, 2018, 00:50 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • Fire in Kemerovo: Foreign Ministry checks if there are any Ukrainians among victims

Russian Federation yesterday held a national day of mourning and buried the first victims of a fire that ravaged a busy shopping centre and killed at least 64 people, majority children.

"Twelve people, including two children, are staying in the hospital, and 67 received ambulatory medical treatment, including 25 children", a headquarters representative said.

The Sunday blaze at the four-story Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping mall in Siberia eventually engulfed the area. The fire killed 64 people, 41 of them are children.

After a huge outpouring of grief and criticism on social media, President Vladimir Putin - who was this month reelected for a fourth term - on Tuesday visited the scene and upbraided officials at a televised meeting.

Russian authorities say the fire exits were blocked and no alarm sounded when flames went through the mall - and said there were "serious violations".

The doors of one of the shopping centre's cinemas, where children were watching cartoon films, were locked and people did not hear alarms, Witnesses told Russian television. Investigators have not confirmed the cause of the fire, but the high death toll has been blamed on reported shortcomings in the mall's safety procedures.

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In the Kemerovo region, relatives were holding the first funerals for victims as regional emergencies minister Alexander Mamontov said 27 bodies have been identified. Rescuers have struggled to recover bodies after the top floor collapsed and have said identifications may have to be done via DNA, according to Reuters.

"Why? Because of some criminal negligence, because of slovenliness". The bodies were everywhere, there were many small ones, we would pull almost a dozen of dead children from under the seats in the cinema hall.

Awful fire in a shopping mall in #Kemerovo, #Russia.

At a Moscow gathering on Tuesday attended by several thousand people, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, protesters held banners reading "Bribes kill children" and "We demand a real investigation".

Investigators have also detained and charged five people over the fire, including a security guard who they accuse of turning off the public address system and the mall's manager who is accused of violating fire safety regulations.

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