Dozens killed in fire at Siberian shopping mall

Posted at 11:05 PM, Mar 25, 2018

At least 53 people are dead and dozens injured after a fire at a shopping center in the Siberian city of Kemerovo on Sunday, a spokesman for the firefighting agency told Russian state media.

Smoke rises above a shopping center in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, about 3,600 kilometers ( approximately 2,240 miles) east of Moscow.
CREDIT: Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations/AP

State news agency Tass reported a fire at the Zimnyaya Vishnya — also known as Winter Cherry — shopping mall in central Kemerovo broke out on the top floor of a four-story building, in the center’s cinema hall.

The death toll rose on Monday morning after 16 more bodies were found in the cinema area. In total, the fire consumed an area of approximately 1,600 square meters, injuring 47 people.

Earlier, fire authorities said 40 children were unaccounted for following the fire. It’s not known how many children have now been found, or are among the dead and injured.

Video taken at the scene of the fire showed enormous clouds of thick, grey black smoke pouring out of the windows and roof of the shopping mall, which featured a cinema, bowling alley, children’s center and petting zoo, according to Tass.

Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov told Tass two of the three “cinema halls” at the complex had collapsed during the fire.

Even after the sun set, a dull red glow could be seen over the building before the fire was extinguished.

Footage from the scene appeared to show one person jumping or falling from what appears to be the third floor, as black smoke billows from a window. CNN could not verify the video.

Twenty people were saved from the burning building, Tass reported, and about 100 others were evacuated.

The fire was brought under control late Sunday night, the firefighting agency told Tass, and a criminal case has been opened.

Families of the victims will be paid one million rubles ($17,500) in compensation each following the fire, Kemerovo’s Governor Aman Tuleyev announced early Monday morning.

“If there are two (family members killed in fire), God forbid, then it will be two million rubles,” Tuleyev said in a statement published by Tass.

Kemerovo is about 800 kilometers (approximately 500 miles) northeast of the Kazakhstan border, around 3,600 kilometers (1,800 miles) east of the Russian capital Moscow.

Opened in 2013, the Winter Cherry shopping mall covers an area 23,000 square meters, and includes parking space for 250 cars.