Shopping centre fire in Russian Federation kills at least 48 people

Shopping centre fire in Russian Federation kills at least 48 people

Kerry Wise
March 29, 2018

The fire, at the Winter Cherry mall in the city of Kemerovo, killed 41 children, according to the Interfax news agency, and the calamitous way it was handled has stirred anger and focused attention on corruption and lax fire safety standards.

A criminal investigation has been launched into the infliction of death by negligence, the fire safety rules violation, and the provision of services failing to meet safety requirements.

Putin, who was re-elected for a fourth term in polls earlier this month, visited a memorial of toys, flowers and balloons near the gutted mall's facade, telling officials he felt "like wailing" over the number of victims. According to the most recent data, a total of 64 people were killed in the fire, 12 injured were hospitalized and 55 received outpatient care.

Investigators said fire exits had been illegally blocked, the public address system had not been switched on, the alarm system was broken, and children had been locked inside cinemas. The corresponding order was signed by the governor Aman Tuleyev. Five persons have been detained in connection with the case.

Confusion in recording the names of the dead, which included many who shared surnames, and difficulty identifying bodies may have led to the discrepancy, a spokesman for the activists told The Daily Mail.

Rescuers are struggling to reach the upper floors because the roof of the four-story building collapsed.

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Senior regional official Vladimir Chernov said the fire may have started in the children's trampoline room.

Elsewhere in the mall, fire alarms stayed silent causing the blaze to catch some unaware without enough time to escape.

Television channels on Wednesday broadcast with a black ribbon on the screen or a message "Kemerovo - we mourn", while Orthodox Christian channel Spas aired a show called "Kemerovo: what can our prayers do?"

A father who lost his daughter in the fire recalled her final words: "She said, 'Dad, I love you".

One fifth-grade student, Maria Moroz, posted: "We're burning".