At least 64 people have died and 11 are still missing as a result of the blaze in Kemerovo shopping mall, Russia’s Investigative committee said on March 26. According to reports, many children are among the victims.
Earlier, 64 people was listed as missing, but authorities clarified that these included the victims whose bodies were already found but not yet identified.
The first reports of the blazr appeared on March 26 afternoon. Police encircled the area and started evacuating people. According to media reports, some 15 fire teams were deployed and over 660 people were engaged in emergency response activities.
According to, witnesses fire alarms and the fire-extinguisher system in the shopping mall, which were completely packed, failed to go off.
The official cause of the conflagration has yet to be determined. The investigative committee has launched a criminal investigation into the case. Four suspects, including the head of the management company, servicing the shopping mall have been reportedly detined.
“Negligence is the cause. All norms are written. But the way we treat these [security] norms is the catastrophic cause of the tragedy we have witnessed today,” child ombdusman Anna Kuznetsova commented on the situation in an interview with the state-run channel Rossiya 24.
Despite Russia’s notable achievements in many spheres, cases of criminal negligence, especially among bureaucrats, still cause such tragedies.
Some people see an analogy between the Kemerovo mall blaze and the 2012 flood in the Krasnodar Kray in southern Russia. In 2012, 172 people died as a result of the flood. These consequences were the result of incompetence and idleness of local and regional authorities. Planned measures to protect the territory against flood that should have been implemented in the previous decade were not implemented. No alert about the looming menace was issued.