Russian: At least 37 people were feared dead, including many children, in a massive fire that broke out at a shopping centre in the Siberian city of Kemerovo. According to reports, the fire started on the upper floor of the Winter Cherry complex and soon spread out to other areas. Over 70 people are reported to be injured. The authorities have pressed disaster management teams and firefighters to control the inferno, whose cause is yet to be ascertained.
Here are key developments so far
- The fire began on the upper floor of the Winter Cherry Complex, which has a chain of movie theatres, restaurants and also a children’s zoo.
- The fire began in the entertainment centre of the shopping complex and soon spread out to the movie theatre. Russia’s Investigative Committee in a statement said that the roof of two cinema halls collapsed amassing the massive death toll.
- According to news agency Tass, nearly 40 children are missing as search and rescue operation continued in the building panned across 1,600 square meters of area.
- The shopping centre is located in Kemerovo which is about 3600 km from Russian capital of Moscow.
- According to BBC, Yevgeny Dedyukhin, deputy head of the Kemerovo region emergency department, said, “We’ve got 288 emergency personnel working on site, 62 fire units and an airborne group.”
- According to reports, emergency services had found 13 dead bodies in one of the cinema halls, while over 100 people were rescued from the flames.
- A state of emergency has been declared in the region with around 300 rescuers engaged in the operation in the shopping centre.
- 8. Authorities fear that the death toll is likely to increase as it being a Sunday, the shopping mall and most of the floors were packed with visitors.
- The authorities, however, are yet to confirm whether if the victims died from burns or smoke inhalation.
- The fire raged in the shopping complex for over five hours before the fire department could contain it to begin search and rescue operations.