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MOSCOW, December 5 (Itar-Tass) — The criminal case over the fire in a Moscow market which claimed 17 lives has been sent to court.
The fire broke out at the Kachalovsky market of construction materials in southern Moscow, at around 05:00, on April 3. After it was extinguished, 17 bodies were found in a hanger. All the victims were citizens of former Soviet republics who had worked in the market and lived in a makeshift dormitory. The fire was caused by faulty wiring. The workers were locked and were unable to leave the quarters through the grated windows.
The Investigative Committee /SK/ charged businessman Sedrak Stepanyan /director of the Albaset company which leased the warehouse where the fire occurred/ under Article 219, Part 3 of the penal code /"violation of fire safety requirements which resulted in people's death by negligence"/.
The article carries a penalty of up to 7 years in jail.
"Stepanyan violated fire safety requirements by illegally building a structure and accommodating there foreign citizens he had hired," the SK said.
The investigators gathered sufficient evidence to send the case to court for consideration on the merits.
After the tragedy, the Prosecutor General's Office instructed the Moscow prosecutor, jointly with bodies of the Emergency Situations Ministry, the Rospotrebnadzor Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare and police to check the compliance with legislation on fire safety and anti-epidemic and public security in all Moscow markets.