Fire Guts Psych Hospital in Russia, Killing 37
Authorities had warned about dangerous building
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Sep 13, 2013 4:04 AM CDT
Emergency workers are seen at a psychiatric hospital in Luka village in the Novgorod region, Russia, early Friday, Sept. 13, 2013.   (AP Photo/Russian Emergency Ministry, the Novgorod region branch)

(Newser) – A fire at a psychiatric hospital in central Russia has killed 37 people, according to the country's top investigators. Though 60 were inside the now-decimated facility when the blaze began, 23 were evacuated, officials say. Among the dead was a nurse trying to rescue patients, the New York Times reports. Thus far, officials say just 22 bodies have been found, RT adds. The cause of the fire—now extinguished, CNN reports—is the subject of a criminal investigation; it's not the first blaze at a Russian psychiatric facility this year, RIA Novosti notes.

The Oksochi psychoneurological institution, one of many such facilities in Russia, housed elderly people needing care as well as people with mental illnesses. The 19th-century building, made mostly from wood, has long prompted official warnings, the AP notes. The fire reportedly began in the men's ward of the building; a witness told local television that a man had been smoking in bed. "Medical personnel saw a patient who was shrouded in flames ... It's possible that he was smoking in bed and the mattress caught fire," a regional governor said, via Interfax and NBC News. Prosecutors say the man, who was rescued, may have intended to start the fire.

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Showing 3 of 9 comments
HMD-SMD-ITY
Sep 15, 2013 10:28 PM CDT
Before I saw the photos, I thought it was the Kremlin that burned and it was like the Reich-stag burning.
Antagonist
Sep 13, 2013 12:13 PM CDT
Accident? Right..... Bucking Fummer Hey where is idiot that starts ranting about Tobacco???
kj_nm
Sep 13, 2013 9:57 AM CDT
Hitler gassed the mentally insane, Russia houses its dissidents with the mentally insane, but these facilities seem to have fires with alarming frequency