Fire in Siberian shopping mall leaves at least 37 people dead

Fire in Siberian shopping mall leaves at least 37 people dead

Fire in Siberian shopping mall leaves at least 37 people dead

A fire at a shopping mall in a Siberian city killed at least 48 people, Russian officials said Monday.

The fire erupted in the industrial city of Kemerovo, a coal-mining centre in Siberia which is 3,600km (2,200 miles) east of Moscow.

Witnesses told Russian television that some did not hear alarms or did not take them seriously and that the fire took hold very quickly, leaving many children separated from their parents."The alarm system didn't work, people ran out screaming and in panic", said a teenager, Milena, who had visited the mall with her parents. It says crews are still searching for remains and that 10 people are being treated in hospital.

Investigators and witnesses said emergency exits were locked shut and alarm systems were not working at the Winter Cherry shopping centre in the Siberian city of Kemerovo.

Tass said the fire started on the top floor but the cause was not immediately known. The Investigative Committee, which handles major crimes, said it was trying to bring in the mall's principal owner for questioning. In 2003, a fire in student dorm at a Moscow university killed 44 and injured 156. Pictures showed people jumping from the top floor to escape the blaze.

When he got a phone call an hour later from one of his daughters to say she was stuck behind locked doors as the fire spread, he raced upstairs.

Russia: 5 killed in fire at shopping centre in Siberian city of Kemerovo
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"No one knows exactly how many people there were inside when the fire broke out", Alexandre Eremeyev, an official with the local Russian emergency services ministry, said in a statement.

Firefighters evacuated at least 120 people from the mall, which was packed with parents and children on the first weekend of a school recess. "The condition is stable for everyone", she said.

The Prosecutor General's Office on Monday ordered all shopping malls in Russian Federation to be checked for fire safety features.

The Embassy of India said, in a tweet, that it "expresses its deepest condolences to the families and friends of victims of Kemerovo tragedy". As a result, many companies prefer to pay bribes instead of complying with outdated and excessive regulations, including fire safety rules.

A three-day period of mourning was declared in the region.

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