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MOSCOW, January 2 (Itar-Tass) — Malfunctioning or misused pyrotechnical devices have inflicted injuries on 21 people in Moscow City during the celebrations of the New Year from December 31 through to January 2, a spokesman for the Moscow City branch of the federal Ministry for Emergency Situations and Civil Defense /EMERCOM/ told Itar-Tass.
“Of the twenty-one persons injured by petards, two are children,” he said.
“Also, fire-fighting teams were dispatched on 141 calls, including the eight ones related to road accidents,” the spokesman said. “Three people have been rescued.”
January 1, a total of 23 fires were registered. Four of them occurred in apartment blocks.
In the meantime, officials at EMERCOM’s information department told Itar-Tass that fires across Russia have claimed 79 lives since the New Year’s night.
“There have been 641 fires since early morning Sunday, including 529 ones in the housing sector,’ an official said. “Bodies of 79 people have been found and 213 persons have been injured.”
“Also, the fire-fighters rescued 134 people at the spot of blazing,” he said, adding that these figures are still better than a year ago.
January 1, 2011, the number fires in Russia stood at 735 and the fatalities resulting from them, at 95.
A certain increase in the number of fires and deaths related to them is typical of New Year festivities, the official said, as the numbers of risks that may potentially lead up to the tragic situations grow, too.
“Two weeks of merry-making usually don’t bring about anything reasonable,” EMERCOM’s minister Sergei Shoigu said. “I may be wrong, of course, but I think it’d be much better if these holidays were slashed a little bit.”
EMERCOM’s data suggests that the number of fires reached 870 January 1 in previous years, marking an almost 100% surge over the averaged daily figure.
As for the death rate, it might jump from 32 to 117 per day.
EMERCOM experts single out alcoholic intoxication and the low safety awareness as the main factors standing behind the big number of fires and deaths during the New Year festivities.
The experts, who spoke to Itar-Tass, focused attention on the obvious fact that candles, electric garlands, Bengal lights, and petards may become the root-causes of fires.
An iron one has forgotten to unplug from the socket, a TV set, other household electric appliances, and even smoldering cigarette butts are fire-prone to a no smaller degree.