Fire in Kemerovo, Russia: Scores of children feared among over a hundred(?) killed or injured as investigators reveal mall's fire exits were blocked

Sylvia

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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/25/37-dead-scores-missing-siberia-shopping-centre-fire/
Investigators looking into a fire that killed at least 64 people at a busy shopping mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo said on Monday that a security guard had turned off the fire alarm system and that exits had been illegally blocked.
The fire, one of the deadliest in Russia since the break-up of the Soviet Union, swept through the upper floors of the Winter Cherry shopping centre on Sunday afternoon where a cinema complex and children's play area were located.
As many as 41 children could be among the victims of the blaze in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, which started on Sunday. Around a dozen people are still believed to be missing.
Russian state investigators said four people had been detained over the fire, including the owners and leasers of outlets inside the shopping mall.
President Vladimir Putin, re-elected last weekend, has yet to speak publicly about the tragedy, which has stirred deep anger in Kemerovo, a coal-producing region about 3,600 km (2,200 miles) east of Moscow.
The Kremlin published a statement, saying Putin "expressed his deep condolences to the relatives and loved ones of those who died."
...
Images on Russian television showed thick black smoke pouring out of the building, which also houses a sauna, a bowling alley and a multiplex cinema.
The shopping centre was converted from a former confectionery factory in 2013 and was popular with local residents for its facilities for children, which included a petting zoo.
:( :( :(
 

ballettmaus

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I heard about it on the radio. It's just horrible. I teared up when they reported that an 11-year-old girl called her parents to tell them that she's not going to make it out and that she loves them.
Such a tragedy. It was preventable and it's so, so senseless. :(
 

Tinami Amori

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no words...:fragile: some russian videos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNAj5gm6bns (flowers for victims)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgKLacVHOpY (compl. of videos from eyewitnesses)

The current death tall and injuries are not correct, there are many more. Over 200 injured/dead were delivered to 1 hospital in the city. The fire safety system in the centre was non-functional on many levels, no fire alarm, no working sprinkles, no safety exits or evacuation instructions.

There is live feed coverage in youtube conducted by concerned citizens, discussing the issue in hope of actions and finding the truth, private citizens giving info which does not make it to national TV. It's in Russian.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWqlAUukT18
 

Sylvia

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11yo boy survived by jumping out of window of burning mall. His entire family did not: https://www.rt.com/news/422392-kemerovo-boy-window-survived/

Families of Kemerovo shopping mall fire victims to receive $17,500 compensation: http://tass.com/society/996011http://tass.com/society/996011

ETA: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/...berian-mall-dozens-more-still-missing-n859901
Four people were detained and were being questioned in connection with the fire, including the tenant of the premises where the fire is said to have started.
...
Winter Cherry was one of Kemerovo's most popular entertainment centers for children, with its own indoor skating rink, petting zoo and trampolines. Kemerovo residents said the mall was packed with children and their parents.
Authorities said 200 animals in the petting zoo also died in the fire.
 
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skatingguy

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What I’m wondering is why the fire exits were shut in the mall?? :(
Just a guess on my part, but I'm going to go with security. A lot of malls/stores would love to lock those exits (obviously this why they shouldn't be locked) because people walk out of them all the time, and take lots of things with them.
 

Vash01

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Terrible! I read about it yesterday on CNN. Those poor families! Words are inadequate to comfort them. RIP to the dead. Such a horrible way to die!
 

Sylvia

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Twenty six kids among 38 missing after Russian shopping mall fire: http://tass.com/world/996338
The Kemerovo regional administration has published a full list of people missing after the Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping mall fire, as well as of those hospitalized. The list is available on the administration’s website.
The list of those missing includes 38 people, 26 of them children, while the age of two people is not specified. Another 13 kids are on the list of 25 victims who have already been identified, the age of one victim is not listed.
A total of 69 people, including 24 children and one emergency worker, are on the list of those hospitalized. However, there is no indication as to how many of them still remain in the hospital.
 

IceAlisa

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A local man lost his wife, sister and 3 young children in the fire. My mind stops when I try to imagine myself in his shoes.

When he confronted a public official at a town square meeting, said official accused him of attempting a PR grab at the expense of the tragedy. The callousness and the cynicism are beyond my comprehension. The post is in Russian https://www.facebook.com/znakcom/videos/1560368470739706/

Other stories are floating around the social media about the final phone calls from the locked movie theater (why locked?), blocked fire escapes and non-functional fire alarm systems. Apparently the fire fighters arrived 40 minutes into the fire and were not equipped to deal with it, did not go in to save the trapped victims. OTOH, civilian heroes went in and rescued people, some of them losing their lives in the process.

The total number of victims is estimated to be as high as 300.
 

Sylvia

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http://abcnews.go.com/International...ligence-mall-fire-killed-67/story?id=54035452
Thousands of angry residents have demonstrated in the Russian city of Kemerovo, calling for a full investigation into the devastating fire at a shopping mall on Sunday that killed at least 67 people, most of them children. Among the demonstrators were victims' relatives, some of whom had lost entire families, and those rallying demanded officials be held responsible for the disaster that investigators have suggested was caused by major fire safety violations.
The demonstrators, who confronted a vice governor during the day, reflected a sentiment expressed widely on Tuesday that catastrophe was emblematic of a wider problem in ordinary Russian life of sapping corruption and official irresponsibility in a country where power is heavily centralized.
The fire is one of the most lethal in modern Russian history, the worst since 153 people died in a nightclub in the city of Perm in 2009. The atmosphere of fury around the allegations of official fecklessness and corruption has given birth to angry rumors of a cover-up with claims circulating on social media that the real death count is far higher, as many as 350. Police have denied the rumors. But ingrained secrecy in Russian administration has fed them -- relatives of the dead have had to sign non-disclosure agreements before they could take possession of the bodies, a standard practice, according to police.
At the demonstration, the city’s mayor, Ilya Seredyuk, proposed to the crowd they nominate a group to tour the mortuary and the mall to see for themselves that the rumors of higher death counts were untrue, state news agency TASS reported.
 

Coco

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heartbreaking...to our russian posters, please let us know if "gofundmes" are established that will go to support survivors.
 

Japanfan

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A local man lost his wife, sister and 3 young children in the fire. My mind stops when I try to imagine myself in his shoes.

I don't know how I could endure it. Most of us (thankfully) have no way to prepare for such a tragedy.

Heads are going to roll over this, but it won't bring back lives. :(
 

Vash01

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My Russian teacher is from Siberia. I hope she didn't lose any relatives or friends. I will find out tomorrow after the class.
 

IceAlisa

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Punishing a handful of people will accomplish exactly nothing going forward. The poor fire safety standards, the global corruption, and disregard for human life will continue.
 
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Tinami Amori

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What I’m wondering is why the fire exits were shut in the mall?? :(
Two things happened:
- doors to the theatre are kept locked during the film. there is a door attendant who opens and closes the doors after the film starts. a) to make sure people do not enter without tickets. b) to make sure under-aged kids do not leave the auditorium un-attended/without an adult. The local practice is for parents to leave the kid to watch the movie, while they go shopping; it's sort of a "day kinder-garten" set-up, to keep the kids busy so that adults get things done. It is the same practice as in other "kids' entertainment" sections at the mall, like the trampoline jumping room. Parent leaves the kid, and the attendant watches the door and must make sure an under-aged child does not leave on his own.

In this case, the film hall attendants, who also died, made a faulty decision to keep the doors locked and kids inside, and to wait for fire-fighters, probably thinking it is less safe to let young kids run around in the smoke unattended. Somewhere i read that the attendants called "some authorities" and were told "keep kids inside, don't let them out during the panic, they'll get lost or trampled, the help is on the way". One father wanted to go inside, offered many options, but was held back, and told "the fire fighters will handle it"...:(

- The fire exit doors kept locked.
First. In this particular shopping mall the door locks were old-style, and NOT the kind that you can open from the inside, but not from from the outside. The doors had regular locks and handles, not these: http://animation-decoration-bollywo...fety-door-locks--ilco-door-locks-1010x568.jpg.

Second. A very typical for Russia situation happened, which hurts many businesses. Conflicting government laws. Public businesses (like shopping malls, restaurants, etc.) are subject to 2 serious yet conflicting government laws/regulations.
- From FSB (ФСБ) there is a mandatory law of "keeping ALL secondary doors/entries locked, to avoid external entery, as prevention for acts of crime/terrorism". So, except for main entry doors (which are on security/guarded), according to this law, all other doors must be locked for outside intrusion.
- From Fire Safety Department there is a mandatory law to have X-number of emergency doors per square meter of space, and have them available for exit in case of emergency.

So such businesses have a) emergency doors, but b) they keep them locked. If a business violates Fire Safety Rules, the business gets a FINE. If a business violates FSB's "security rules", it is a much more serious offense, that can result in a trial. FSB overides the Fire Dept.

If there is "any good" in any of this, now all public entertainment places will have to switch to new types of emergency exit door locks: http://animation-decoration-bollywo...fety-door-locks--ilco-door-locks-1010x568.jpg
 
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Tinami Amori

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heartbreaking...to our russian posters, please let us know if "gofundmes" are established that will go to support survivors.
The best one, that i am willing to list (without doubt that funds might be misused) is Russian branch of Red Cross. If the money, for some reason, do not go directly to the victims' families (just in case), they will stay with a reputable organization. Other donation sites are "church related" and i don't trust them.

The site is in Russian, but Google-translate works good. Go to section "transfers from outside of Russia/Euros/USD". There is also Red Button "donate".
http://www.redcross.ru/news/okazani...e-25-marta-2018-g-v-g-kemerovo-v-trk-zimnyaya
 

Skittl1321

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This is so sad. What a horrible tragedy.

So many bad decisions lead to such an awful loss of life.
I hope reform comes from it, as it has after other countries experience similar tragedies. Requiring "panic bars" on doors to open to the outside; not locking theater doors (I am glad Tinami Amori explained that is custom- to me that is insane.) Better fire safety standards.

I just can't get over how sad this is.
 

Sylvia

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Reuters: Governor of Russia's Kemerovo resigns over deadly mall fire
The governor of Russia’s Kemerovo region resigned on Sunday over a mall fire that killed more than 60 after a litany of violations in safety procedures left shoppers and children trapped inside the building.
Aman Tuleyev, 73, said in a video posted on the regional administration’s website that stepping down was the only course of action possible. President Vladimir Putin accepted his resignation, the Kremlin said.
“With such a heavy burden, it’s impossible to work as the governor,” said Tuleyev, who governed the region for more than two decades. “It’s morally impossible.”
...
Putin said the incident had been caused by criminal negligence and those responsible would be punished.
On Sunday he appointed Sergei Tsivilyov, one of the region’s deputy governors, to replace Tuleyev as acting governor.
 

Tinami Amori

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Yes. But he wanted to retire for a long time, was out with illness for quite sometime, and the region was ran by Vice-Governor. This is good news, but it is somewhat "for the show".
There are 5 issues to address in this disaster, and they are being investigated but not fast enough (and not too logically in my opinion).
- How the fire started/who. So far there indicators and reports that it was a group of rowdy teenagers, or an individual from a group, who have been vandalizing the property with graffiti and nasty pranks for sometime, smoking inside the building, breaking into vending machines, etc. There are witnesses who saw a boy 11-12 years old sneaking into the acrobatics play room, and trying to light matches in the "foam jumping pool" (dry pool).
- Locking of children and few adults in that one auditorium where 41 people burned, and all the misinformation, miscommunication, and faulty decisions that caused this.
- Conduct and actions/non-actions of the Fire brigade/crew.
- Lack for proper fire evacuations procedures and execution.
- Public building safety code violations, and local administration's negligence towards the issues.

Each is too long to describe, as it is somewhat specific to Russian laws, practices and many other factors.
If any good in this, it's that now such issues will now be addressed by citizens, and followed up on (not leaving it all to government and authorities). The Big Uncle will no longer take care of us, we have to take care of ourselves.

Old Russian sign at public beaches: "The responsibility of the one who is drowning is in his hands".
Спасение утопающих, дело рук самих утопающих (the rescue of the drowning is in the hands of the drowning).
 
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Sylvia

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Thanks for the update, Tinami. So all the rumors in social media about the death count being much higher and covered up by the authorities turned out to be false?
 

Tinami Amori

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Thanks for the update, Tinami. So all the rumors in social media about the death count being much higher and covered up by the authorities turned out to be false?
That's another very bad story. The current death tall is now fairly accurate as reported in russian, and consequently western press.

During first day of the tragedy a bad prank was done intentionally. Couple of men intentionally spread rumors that the death tall in 200-300-400's count. These men pretended to be ambulance workers and fire-fighters, calling from "place of accident" to the local morgues, asking the hospital staff fake questions such as "We have 154 bodies in our trucks, do you have room in your location?". Then calling another morgues "We have 130 more bodies, do you have room?". With all these fake calls it sounded like there are more than 300+ bodies.

Later one of the men (prankster) called in and publicly said "I did it as revenge. I am Ukrainian, and you deserved it".
https://www.reddit.com/r/europe/comments/87k16j/ukrainian_youtuber_pranks_a_morgue_in_kemerovo/
https://meduza.io/en/news/2018/03/2...ster-with-calling-several-morgues-in-kemerovo
 
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Tinami Amori

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That is some cold shit :eek:
His name is Evgeny Volnov, he is a self-proclaimed, and proud, prankster against Russia, and he sets up mean-spirited situations against russian individuals and families. He does not hide it, rather advertises it in a youtube channel. He also called families of the victims to taunt them about "flowers and memorials for their children being burned and removed by the local administration" and then he called local administration (of Kemerovo) and told them "vandals are destroying memorials and stealing toys and flowers", here is one sample, in Russian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h58w4_muedo

He also warned to "watch out for him" because there will be more and more of that each time there is a disaster in Russia. There is a warrant for his arrest, but not likely he'll be caught if he does not enter Russia.
 
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