Russia fire kills 64: Children missing in deadly Kemerovo mall blaze, 4 detained

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International desk, Mar 26: At least 64 people have died in a fire that engulfed a shopping and entertainment complex in the Siberian coal-mining city of Kemerovo.

Many of the victims are children. Ten people are still listed as missing.

The blaze started on an upper floor of the Winter Cherry complex during school holidays. The mall’s shops, cinema and bowling alley were packed at the time.

Video posted on social media showed people jumping from windows to escape the flames.

“According to preliminary information, the roof collapsed in two cinemas,” Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement.

The cause of the fire is not yet known. The authorities have launched an investigation.

Four people have been detained for questioning, including the head of the company that manages the shopping centre, according to the Investigative Committee. The owner of the Winter Cherry complex is among those being held.

Where did the fire start?

As well as cinema screens, the complex, opened in 2013, includes restaurants, a sauna, a bowling alley and a petting zoo.

The fire is believed to have started at around 17:00 (10:00 GMT) in a part of the building that contains the entertainment complex, local media report.

“According to preliminary information, the roof collapsed in two cinemas,” Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement.

“The shopping centre is a very complex construction,” he said. “There are a lot of combustible materials.”

What do we know of the victims?

The 37 bodies found are difficult to identify, said Mr Dedyukhin, but nine of them are of children.

Andrei Mamchenkov, deputy head of Russia’s National Crisis Management Centre, said a search was under way for 41 children.

Emergency services had been unable to reach one of the cinema halls on the third floor because of smoke and the danger of the building collapsing, an unnamed source told Russian news agency Interfax.

Source: Agencies