Death toll rises to 9 after Moscow fire
( RIA Novosti ) - The death toll in Tuesday's fire in a management institute in southeast Moscow has risen to nine, a Russian emergencies ministry spokesman said Wednesday.
"Last night, three more people died in hospital, while 51 people are currently being treated for injuries," the spokesman said.
Rescuers are currently searching for three students still missing in the building.
"According to their parents, they [the students] went to the management institute the day the fire broke out, but no one knows where they are now," a spokesman for the firefighting service said, adding they are not included in hospital lists.
The fire occurred on Tuesday afternoon while the 19-year-old students at the Institute of Governmental and Corporative Management were having classes. A total of 150 students and teachers were evacuated from the five-story building, the spokesman said.
Some students and teachers were forced to jump from windows into rescue nets or climb down nearby trees.
Fifty firefighting units and two firefighting helicopters were engaged in combating the fire, which, according to preliminary information, started on the fourth floor and later spread to the fifth.
The first firefighting units arrived at the scene three minutes after being informed of the blaze to see most of the building already engulfed in flames, the spokesman added.
A criminal case has been opened into the incident.
Over the last few years, Russia has seen a number of deadly blazes at schools, universities, hospitals and other public places.
In 2003, over 40 foreign students were killed and 156 injured following a mysterious fire in the student halls at the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia in southwest Moscow.