The toll in the fire at a shopping centre in the Siberian city of Kemerovo has risen to 64, the Tass news agency reported on Monday. Six bodies are yet to be recovered, the agency quoted the Minister of Emergencies Vladimir Puchkov as saying.
“Two out of three cinema halls caved in from the fourth to the third floor of the building,” Puchkov’s deputy Vladlen Aksyonov said.
The fire started around 5 pm local time (3.30 pm IST) on Sunday on the fourth floor of the mall, which includes a three-screen cinema complex, a skating rink and an entertainment centre for children, The New York Times reported. Vladimir Chernov, a deputy governor of the Kemerovo region, said the fire had started in the children’s entertainment room, which had a trampoline with foam rubber.
“The preliminary version is that one of the children had a lighter,” Chernov said. “The fire started from the trampoline pool, filled with foam rubber, which got lit up as gunpowder.”
Rescuers saved 20 people from the burning building, and some 100 others were evacuated. The fire has now been contained.
President Vladimir Putin talked to the relatives of the victims and expressed his condolences.
Russia has witnessed a number of such deadly fires. More than 100 people were killed in a fire at a nightclub in the city of Perm in 2009.