Fire in Russia kills 63

It took firefighters nearly an hour to get from the nearest sizable town to the nursing home in the Krasnodar region village of amyshevatskaya, where there is no fire station, said Sergei Petrov, a duty officer at the Emergency Situations Ministry’s southern branch.

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He said 63 people were killed, one was missing and 33 were injured.

There were 97 people in the two-storey brick building when the fire broke out, including four employees.

The devastating night-time fire came less than 24 hours after a methane gas blast at a Siberian coal mine killed at least 97 people in Russia’s deadliest mining disaster in a decade.

Emergency workers received a signal alerting them to the fire shortly after 1am and headed for the scene from Yeisk, a town about 35 kilometres away, arriving nearly an hour after the signal, Mr Petrov said.

The fire was put out at about 5am, he said.

It was the latest in a number of deadly blazes at schools, dormitories, hospitals and other state-run facilities that have plagued Russia in recent years, underlining rampant violations of fire safety rules and official negligence.

A fire at a drug treatment facility in Moscow in December killed 45 women who were trapped behind locked gates and barred windows, and a blaze a day later killed nine patients at a clinic for the mentally ill in Siberia.

Russia records some 18,000 fire deaths a year, several times the per capita rate in the United States and other Western countries.

State-run Channel One television reported that the nursing home in Kamyshevatskaya, on the Azov Sea, had recently been renovated and a new fire alarm system installed.

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