9 elderlies killed in Russian retirement home fire
At least nine elderly people lost their lives and another was seriously injured early Monday in fire in a retirement home in the Tver region northwest of Moscow, a spokeswoman for the regional emergencies service said, Xinhua reported.
The fire broke out at 0105 GMT in a retirement home in the town of Vyshni Volochyok, but was brought under control by firemen at 0130 GMT, Russian news agencies quoted spokeswoman Yelena Smirnykha as saying.
The victims died due to asphyxiation, said Smirnykha, adding that about 480 people were evacuated from the building.
"At 5:30 (0130 GMT) the fire was put out completely. According to preliminary information, nine people were killed, one injured woman remains in hospital in serious condition," Smirnykha was quoted by RIA Novosti news agency as saying.
So far, the cause of the deadly fire remains unclear.
According to RIA Novosti, a number of deadly blazes in care homes hit Russia in the past years, highlighting safety lapses in state-run institutions.
In February 2009, over 20 people, most of them elderly persons, died in a fire that destroyed a wooden care home in the Republic of Komi in northwest Russia. The incident prompted Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to order comprehensive checks in all Russian retirement homes to uncover possible safety violations and to look into general living conditions.
In a similar incident in June 2007, at least 10 people were killed and four seriously injured in a fire at a retirement home in West Siberia.
The deadliest incident took place in the Krasnodar region in southern Russia in March 2007, where 63 pensioners and medical staff died in a fire at a retirement home.