23 dead in neurological hospital fire in Russia
The Emergencies Ministry says they have found all those missing with the death toll now standing at 23.
The roof of the single-storey unit collapsed when the fire consumed the 600-sq mt building. Some 70 patients were inside, along with at least four medical personnel, when the fire started. At least 29 of the patients were reportedly bedridden or with limited mobility.
Only 57 people have been evacuated from the burning building, according to emergency services working at the scene. Over 20 of them have been hospitalized after suffering injuries. Two of the wounded succumbed to their injuries en route to hospital, an emergency services source told RIA.
The neurological hospital is located in the village of Alferovka, which is home to just over 700 people. The hospital consists of two structures and is situated some 230 km away from Voronezh, a city of just under a million inhabitants.
Authorities believe that a wiring malfunction in the hospital’s electrical system might be the cause of the tragedy.
“Among the main versions [are that it] is the faulty wiring, we are also considered a version of careless handling of fire,” a spokesman from the local emergencies ministry told RIA.
A team of experts is conducting an investigation on site, rescue services told Interfax. Authorities may press charges once the reason behind the fire is established.
Such tragedies are not uncommon in Russia. On April 26, 2013, 38 people were killed in a fire at a psychiatric hospital on the outskirts of Moscow that housed as many as 41 people. Authorities pointed to faulty electric wiring and a short circuit as the most probable cause.