37 killed in Russian psychiatric hospital fire


LUKA, Russia: Thirty-seven people were killed when a fire swept through a wooden psychiatric hospital in northwest Russia overnight Thursday, regional investigators said.

“During a fire in the Oksochi psychiatric hospital 37 people died,” regional investigators said in a statement. Ten people have already been pulled out of the debris in the village of Luka 220 kilometers southeast of Saint Petersburg, the statement said.

The fire in the hospital in the village of Luka-Oksochi 220 kilometers southeast of Saint Petersburg appeared to have been started by a patient who was either smoking or deliberately set fire to his bed, officials said.

The institution was made out of wood and officials said that it had been previously warned by the judicial authorities to improve its fire security. A criminal probe has been opened into suspected negligence.

Television pictures showed that the building—reportedly made of wood—had been reduced to smoldering wreckage by the fire.

Russian media said that 59 people were believed to be in the building at the time of the fire but around 20 had been evacuated in time.

Local governor Mitin said that the hospital was intended for patients with grave psychological disorders and this had made evacuation even more complicated.

The Investigative Committee said it had opened criminal probe in suspected negligence causing death.



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