Latest: 'No alarms sounded' in Russian shopping mall fire horror

Latest: 'No alarms sounded' in Russian shopping mall fire horror
People lay flowers for the victims.

Update 11.45am: A fire at a shopping mall packed with children and their parents on the first weekend of the school holidays has killed 64 people in eastern Russia.

Fire alarms had not sounded, and staff were reportedly nowhere to be seen as the blaze took hold at the Winter Cherry mall in Kemerovo, a city in Siberia, about 1,900 miles east of Moscow, according to witnesses.

The fire was extinguished by Monday morning after burning through the night. Firefighters are still recovering bodies as parts of the buildings are still smouldering. Some of the dead were found inside a cinema.

A group of firefighters walk near the scene. Photos: AP Photo
A group of firefighters walk near the scene. Photos: AP Photo

Sixty-four deaths were confirmed after the firefighters finished combing through the four floors of the mall, emergency situations minister Vladimir Puchkov told a televised briefing.

Six of the bodies have not yet been recovered. Mr Puchkov would not confirm how many of the victims were children.

Ten people have been taken to hospital. Health minister Veronika Skvortsova, who visited the Keremovo hospital where the victims were receiving treatment, said that one patient is an 11-year-old boy who jumped out of a window from the fourth floor. The boy's parents and younger brother died in the fire.

The Investigative Committee said it has detained four people for questioning, including one of the mall's tenants. There is no word yet on how the fire started, though it is known to have begun on the top floor on Sunday evening.

Investigators have launched a probe into possible negligence and violations of the fire safety rules.

Witness testimony indicates that the fire alarm did not go off and that staff did not arrange for the evacuation of the shopping mall, which was converted from a former confectionery factory in 2013.

Winter Cherry was one of Kemerovo's most popular entertainment centres for children, with its own indoor skating rink, petting zoo and trampolines. Kemerovo residents said the mall was packed with children and their parents.

Anna Zarechneva, who was on the top floor where the fire started, watching a movie with her husband and son, said they only found out about the fire when a man ran into the theatre shouting.

"We didn't hear the fire alarm, they even didn't turn on the light during the show," she said.

"That movie could have been the last for us, I've only just realised that."

Ms Zarechneva said her husband stayed upstairs trying to help arrange the evacuation, because the mall's security and staff were nowhere to be seen.

Earlier: Final death toll in Russian shopping centre fire reaches 64

Update 10.10am: Sixty-four people are confirmed to have died in a fire at a shopping centre in Siberia.

Russia's emergency situations minister Vladimir Puchkov told a televised briefing on Monday that firefighters had finished combing through the four floors of the shopping centre in the city of Kemerovo.

Six bodies have not yet been recovered, he said.

Puchkov would not say how many of the victims were children.

Smoke rises above the multi-story shopping centre. Photo: AP Photo/Sergei Gavrilenko
Smoke rises above the multi-story shopping centre. Photo: AP Photo/Sergei Gavrilenko

The Winter Cherry centre was a popular destination for families and it was packed with visitors on Sunday, the first weekend of the school holiday, when the fire broke out.

The fire was extinguished on Monday morning after burning through the night.

Parts of the building were still smouldering and the floors of the cinema hall had caved in in places, officials said.

State news agency Tass had earlier reported that 11 of the bodies had been found in the centre's cinema.

The shopping centre opened in 2013 and also included a petting zoo, children's centre and bowling.

Tass said the fire started on the top floor but the cause was not yet known. A criminal investigation has begun.

The shopping centre is about 1,900 miles east of Moscow.

Earlier: Dozens killed in fire at Russian shopping centre

Update 7.28am: A fire at a shopping centre in the Siberian city of Kemerovo has killed at least 48 people, Russian officials said today.

At least 16 people were still missing, state news agency Tass reported, quoting Russian emergencies minister Vladimir Puchkov.

The fire at the four-storey Winter Cherry centre was extinguished in the morning after burning through the night.

Parts of the building were still smouldering and the floors of the cinema hall had caved in in places, another emergency official said.

"More bodies were discovered during the inspection of the scene and we confirm the death toll is at 48," deputy emergencies minister Vladlen Aksyonov said, according to Tass.

Latest: 'No alarms sounded' in Russian shopping mall fire horror

The news agency had earlier reported that 11 of the bodies had been found in the centre's cinema.

The shopping centre opened in 2013 and also included a petting zoo, children's centre and bowling.

Tass said the fire started on the top floor but the cause was not yet known.

A criminal investigation has begun.

Latest: 'No alarms sounded' in Russian shopping mall fire horror

More on this topic

Two dead and three injured following college shooting in RussiaTwo dead and three injured following college shooting in Russia

Passenger loses 370,000 air miles after smuggling overweight cat on to flightPassenger loses 370,000 air miles after smuggling overweight cat on to flight

Turkey must consider ‘foul play’ in probe into Briton’s death, says AmnestyTurkey must consider ‘foul play’ in probe into Briton’s death, says Amnesty

Murder suspect professor ordered to be detained by Russian courtMurder suspect professor ordered to be detained by Russian court

More in this Section

Piero Terracina, Auschwitz survivor from Italian Jewish community, diesPiero Terracina, Auschwitz survivor from Italian Jewish community, dies

Pair arrested in UK on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offencesPair arrested in UK on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offences

Labour party claim more than 4,600 deaths linked to NHS patient safety incidentsLabour party claim more than 4,600 deaths linked to NHS patient safety incidents

French protesters wave stolen town hall portraits of Macron in call for more climate change actionFrench protesters wave stolen town hall portraits of Macron in call for more climate change action


Lifestyle

Overshadowed by its giant neighbours it may be, but the smallest of the main Blasket islands, Beginish, is no less impressive in its own right.The Islands of Ireland: The miracle of Beginish

‘The days of our years are threescore years and ten — Psalm 90How to tell an animal’s age in a heartbeat

We often hear how nature will do well, even come back from the brink of extinction, if given a chance and some human help.Birds of prey on the rise

In our country we still have places that bear no evidence of disturbance by man, that are in their pristine state and rich with all the elements that feed the spirit and deliver us into the world beyond the skin of the time and circumstances we live in.Unique ambience of Dursey Island under threat

More From The Irish Examiner