At Least 37 Die as Fire Sweeps Through Siberia Shopping Mall


Photo

Smoke rising from a multistory shopping center in the Siberian city of Kemerovo on Sunday.

Credit
Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations

MOSCOW — At least 37 people died when a fire burned through a shopping mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo on Sunday, the Russian authorities said.

Many of the victims were children, and at least 29 people were still missing after the blaze in the industrial city of about half a million people, over 2,000 miles east of Moscow, the Interfax news agency reported. The missing had little chance of survival, it said, citing a source in the rescue team.

The fire started around 5 p.m. on the fourth floor of the mall, which includes a three-screen cinema complex, a skating rink and an entertainment center for children.

Speaking to the relatives of the missing, Vladimir Chernov, a deputy governor of the Kemerovo region, said the fire had started in the children’s entertainment room, where there was a trampoline with foam rubber.

“The preliminary version is that one of the children had a lighter,” Mr. Chernov told the relatives, according to Interfax. “The fire started from the trampoline pool, filled with foam rubber, which got lit up as gunpowder.”

Mr. Chernov said that the fire alarm then did not work and that the cinema hall’s doors were shut.

The Investigative Committee, Russia’s equivalent to the F.B.I., said it had opened a criminal investigation into the cause of the fire.

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