Death Toll Hits 64 in Horrific Mall Blaze
Survivors of Siberia tragedy say there were no alarms
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2018 1:15 AM CDT
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In this Russian Emergency Situations Ministry photo, on Sunday, March 25, 2018, smoke rises above a multi-story shopping center in the Siberian city of Kemerovo.   (Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations photo via AP)
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(Newser) – At least 64 people, many of them children, died when a massive blaze swept through a multi-story mall in Siberia Sunday, authorities say. The mall was packed with children and their parents at the time of the horrific fire in Kemerovo, a city of around 500,000 people more than 2,000 miles east of Moscow, the BBC reports. Survivors say no fire alarms were heard. Video posted on social media shows people jumping out of windows to escape. Authorities believe the fire started around 5pm on an upper floor of the busy mall, which has attractions including a skating rink, a petting zoo, and a cinema complex. According to Russian media, regional deputy governor Vladimir Chernov says the fire began in foam rubber in a trampoline room in the children's entertainment complex, the New York Times reports.

"The preliminary version is that one of the children had a lighter," Interfax quotes Chernov as saying. "The fire started from the trampoline pool, filled with foam rubber, which got lit up as gunpowder." Chernov said fire alarms didn't work and people apparently became trapped in a cinema hall as the blaze spread. Authorities say families of the victims will be paid 1 million rubles each, the equivalent of around $17,500, CNN reports. The AP reports that at least 10 injured survivors have been hospitalized. Authorities say the most seriously injured is an 11-year-old boy who jumped out of a fourth-floor window to escape. Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova says the boy's parents and younger brother were killed in the fire.

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