Russians grieve and donate blood as police investigate huge mall fire in Kemerovo

2018/3/26 14:34:00

The death toll has already reached 64 confirmed and could increase. Arrests are already underway as part of a criminal investigation on fire causes.  Locals [pictured] are lining up to donate blood for the injured.


From RFE/RL's Russian Service, Mar 26, 2018:


At least 64 people are dead after a fire raced through a busy shopping center in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, prompting panicked visitors to jump from windows as flames and smoke filled parts of the building.


Many of the dead believed to be young children


"Unfortunately, we must state that 64 people have been killed," Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov said on March 26, a day after the fire broke out at the mall in the center of the city, about 3,000 kilometers east of Moscow.


Flames and smoke erupted anew at the mall, but Puchkov told journalists that 64 was the final death toll. Ten of the 44 people who sought medical treatment remained hospitalized, federal Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said.


The cause of the blaze was not immediately known and authorities launched a criminal investigation, the Investigative Committee said. Several of the victims were believed to be children.


Four people have been detained for questioning, including the heads of the company that managed the shopping center and the company that rented the space where the fire is believed to have started, the Investigative Committee said in a statement.


A senior emergency official said on state TV early on March 26 that 41 children were believed to be missing, but the Investigative Committee did not say how many of those confirmed dead were children.


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