Russian Federation mourns victims of deadly Siberian shopping mall fire

Mar 29, 2018, 01:29
Russian Federation mourns victims of deadly Siberian shopping mall fire

A fire in the shopping mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo was most likely caused by arson in a children's playground on the fourth floor, a source familiar with the situation told TASS on Wednesday.

Some protesters in Moscow shouted slogans calling for the sacking of Kemerovo's region and for "Russia without Putin". Putin blamed the blaze on "criminal negligence" and promised that those responsible would be held accountable. A memorial for the victims was organised in Kemerovo, the BBC reported.

At least 53 people were killed when a fire ravaged a busy shopping centre in an industrial city in Siberia, with many more reported still missing on Monday, including children, AFP reports.

The events dedicated to the memory about the fire victims have started yesterday in a number of the Russian regions, including Simferopol, Sochi, Rostov-on-Don, Kabardino-Balkaria, the Urals Federal District, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Orenburg, Tambov, most regions of the central and north-western Russia, St. Petersburg.

Investigators said the victims were burned alive or suffocated because emergency exits were locked, notably in a cinema where children watched cartoons.

Russian newspapers ran heart-wrenching accounts of children's last minute calls to their parents and relatives.

Friends and family of the victims begged firefighters to attempt to save the trapped people, but emergency personnel insisted on finding the source of the fire before taking any other action. Five people have been arrested in connection with the blaze. Some of the victims died in a locked movie theater.

Bastrykin also told Putin that a teacher had left a whole class of children alone in a games room while she shopped.

"The investigation team of the Investigative Committee works in accordance with the demands that they have".

Regional authorities have come in for particular criticism since the regional governor Aman Tuleyev - who lost his niece in the fire - has not visited the scene nor met angry residents.

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