37 dead in fire at Russian psychiatric hospital

Russia Fire_Kand_0.jpg

Moscow: A fire swept through a Russian psychiatric hospital overnight, killing thirty seven people, officials said.
 
The fire in the one-story hospital in the village of Luka in the northwestern Novgorod region erupted around 3 am and quickly engulfed the structure, which dates back to the 19th century, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.
The Investigative Committee said that rescuers so far have recovered 10 bodies. It did not explain how it knew about the other deaths. The agency added that the blaze was apparently sparked by a patient. Authorities had long warned that the mostly wooden building was unsafe. 
Authorities had long warned that the building was unsafe and called for its closure. 
Emergency had demanded the facility be closed, but the hospital administration won permission to use it until next year. Officials said the blaze was likely sparked by a smoking patient, and state Rossiya 24 television reported that a witness account confirmed that.
It said that the man who triggered the fire was saved. Emergency officials said that 23 of 60 people who were in the building when the blaze broke out were evacuated. Emergency teams found the bodies of two patients and a nurse, who they said died while trying to rescue others.
More than 34 people have remained unaccounted for and feared dead. Emergency workers were combing a nearby forest for patients who may have fled the blaze. Russia has a poor fire safety record, with about 12,000 deaths reported in 2012.
By comparison, the US, with a population roughly double Russia's, recorded around 3,000 fire deaths in 2011. A similar fire at a psychiatric hospital near Moscow killed 38 people in April. 
 

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