Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Russia mourns victims of mall fire

37 dead 69 missing in Russian shopping center fire Russia mourns victims of mall fire
Michele Schwartz | 30 March, 2018, 00:54

Funerals began in Russian Federation yesterday for the 64 people, majority children, whose deaths in a fire at a Siberian shopping mall have roused public anger over official corruption and incompetence.

Visiting a Siberian shopping mall where one of Russia's deadliest fires took at least 64 lives, President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday blamed the tragedy on "criminal negligence", Reuters reports.

As authorities try to find the cause of a shopping mall fire that killed 64 people, mostly children, the owner of a business there said it was sparked by a group who'd been escorted off the property.

An employee of the Kemerovo EMERCOM spoke about the search and rescue operation at "Winter Cherry" shopping mall in Kemerovo, which was destroyed as a result of a massive fire.

Funerals for the dead began in Kemerovo Wednesday, with the first services taking place at the Kirovskoye cemetery. Eyewitnesses reported that fire alarms were silent and many doors were locked.

Putin yesterday ordered similar shopping centres across Russian Federation to be inspected to make sure they were well prepared in the event of a fire. 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. 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.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to comment yesterday on the regional authorities' actions, telling reporters that "Putin has said that it is hardly appropriate to issue hasty judgements".

Moscow reduced the number of inspections for certain businesses after complaints that inspectors were extorting bribes in exchange for turning a blind eye to violations. Forty-one children died in the fire.

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".

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