NOVO-OGARYOVO, March 28. /TASS/. Expert assessments of the Kemerovo shopping mall fire case may take four to five months, but the Russian Investigative Committee will speed up the process, the Committee’s head Alexander Bastrykin told President Vladimir Putin at a meeting held in Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow region.
When asked by Putin how long it would take to carry out all the necessary assessments concerning the Kemerovo fire, Bastrykin said that it was not a fast process. According to him, construction, financial and economic assessments are usually completed in four to five months. The Investigative Committee chief pledged to speed up the process as much as possible and request experts to set up large groups to conduct assessments. However, in Bastrykin’s words, the work will take at least three months.
"Send there as many people as you need to avoid delays," Putin said. Bastrykin replied that apart from the Investigative Committee, independent experts not aligned to any state agency would also conduct assessments.
"We are coming to the conclusion that the incident was a result of irresponsible attitude to construction issues and financing, but to prove that we will need to engage independent organizations, which will require more time," the Investigative Committee chief added.
A fire broke out on the top floor of the Zimnyaya Vishnya (or Winter Cherry), a four-story shopping mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo on March 25, eventually engulfing an area of 1,500 square meters. According to recent reports, the catastrophic inferno claimed the lives of 64 people, including 41 children.
According to President Vladimir Putin’s decree, Russia is observing a day of national mourning on March 28. Flags are flying at half mast, and all entertainment events have been cancelled across the region.