Russia: Aftermath of fire at nightclub
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At least 13 people were killed after a large fire broke out in a recreation centre Russia, after a patron apparently fire a flare gun inside the building, local officials said. A further five were left injured by the blaze.
The inferno – which broke out in the early hours of Saturday morning – occurred in Kostroma, a riverside city 210 miles north of Moscow.
Sergei Sitnikov, the governor of the region, said that 13 had died in the fire. However, Russian news agency Interfax said the death toll stood at 15, citing local emergency services officials.
On Sunday, the Russian Investigative Committee said six people had suffered “injuries of varying severity”.
The blaze broke out after a patron of Polygon – a venue used as a cafe, nightclub and bar – apparently set of a flare gun while inside the building.
Russia’s investigative committee said a man aged 23 had been arrested on suspicion of causing the fire. The director of the company which manages the venue was also arrested.
The Tass news agency said that the suspected perpetrator had admitted responsibility, citing a law enforcement source.
The source added: “He was spending time with a woman, ordering flowers for her while he held a flare gun. Then he went to the dance floor and fired it.”
The agency reported that “the fire was likely started by a drunken man”.
The Russian Interior Ministry said it had “identified and arrested a suspect for an illegal act in one of the night bars in the city of Kostroma, which caused a fire and the death of victims” following a short investigation.
It is believed that 250 people were able to evacuate after the fire broke out, but it is unclear how many were in the building at the time.
RIA Novosti, a Russian state news agency, said that a brawl had broken out in the café shortly before the fire – but it is unclear if this was related to the alleged flare gun incident.
The roof of the venue collapsed during the fire, which engulfed an area of 3,500 square metres.
Firefighters spent five hours battling the blaze, and a dozen residents of nearby residential buildings were evacuated as a precaution.
The fire is believed to have started around 2am, and was extinguished after 20 fire engines and 50 firefighters attended.
The club has been reported by multiple outlets as being owned by a local politician.
Ikhtiyar Mirzoyev, a member of the regional legislature, promised to give assistance to those affected by the fire.
Images of the single-storey building engulfed in flames were shown on Russian state television. It claimed certain safety measures had not been in place.
The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations also produced footage and images showing firefighters tackling the blaze well into the early hours of the morning.
It is not the first time that pyrotechnics have caused a deadly inferno in a Russian entertainment venue.
In 2009, more than 150 people were killed in a blaze at the Lame Horse nightclub in the city of Perm that erupted after a performer set off fireworks.
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