Russia: 22 dead in the fire of a private retirement home in Siberia

Nursing home fire in Siberia killed 22 people and injured six.

At least 22 people were killed in the night from Friday to Saturday in the fire of a private retirement home in Kemerovo, Siberia, in central-eastern Russia, announced the investigators.

“According to the latest data, during the inspection of the site, the bodies of two other people were found. The number of dead has thus risen to 22”, lamented the Russian Investigation Committee, in charge of the main investigations in the country.

According to the investigators, “six other people were injured, two of whom were hospitalized in serious condition with burns”.

A previous Russian rescue report published on Telegram reported 20 dead. “At 05:25”, the rescue operations “were over”, they said on Telegram.

The interior of the building went up in smoke

On a video published by the emergency services, we could see charred canvas and several fire trucks positioned near the small dilapidated establishment. The interior of the building had completely gone up in smoke.

According to the Tass news agency, the fire spread overnight over 180 m2 in a two-storey wooden building.

This private retirement home was “illegal”, according to a source within the police force, quoted by Tass. The Russian Investigative Committee had announced earlier Saturday the opening of an investigation in particular for “negligence having led to the death of two or more people”.

“A 31-year-old man” is accused by investigators of “having rented a private house as a temporary residence for” elderly people, the Investigation Committee said in a separate statement.

The presumed origin of the fire would be “a defective stove”, said the investigators.

“The day before the incident, the tenants informed (the owner) that the boiler was defective, but he took no steps to repair the equipment,” they denounced.

Supervision of private retirement homes

“The inspection of the premises continues, the objects necessary for the continuation of the investigation are seized. Witnesses are questioned”, can we also read in their press release.

According to the emergency services, the establishment had been “identified at the end of 2021” by the authorities and was to be the subject of an unannounced check in 2023.

The regional governor, Sergei Tsivilev, ordered, for his part, the “immediate” holding of meetings between the various mayors of the Kemerovo region and “their committees in charge of emergency situations”.

He also asked, according to the Tass news agency, that “all retirement homes, mainly private ones, be checked”.

The city of Kemerovo had already been bereaved in March 2018 by a fire in a shopping center which killed 60 people, including around 40 children and adolescents, a tragedy which had shocked Russia.

In early November, a fire in a bar in Kostroma, 300 kilometers northeast of Moscow, killed 13 people. In 2009, 156 people were killed in a major nightclub fire in Perm, a town in the Urals in eastern Russia.

Russia: 22 dead in the fire of a private retirement home in Siberia