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Kemerovo bids final farewell to fire tragedy victims, suspects arrested

March 29, 0:41 UTC+3 KEMEROVO

According to latest reports, the catastrophic inferno claimed the lives of 64 people, including 41 children

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© Danil Aikin/TASS

KEMEROVO, March 29. /TASS/. Funerals for 22 out of 64 Zimnyaya Vishnya (Winter Cherry) shopping mall fire victims took place in the Siberian city of Kemerovo on Wednesday, the national mourning day declared by President Vladimir Putin.

Also on Wednesday, Kemerovo’s court ruled to place the five suspects under arrest for a term of two months.

Investigation continues. Forensic studies may take from four to five months, chief of Russia’s Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin said.

As of now, 27 fire victims have been identified, three of them were taken to Tomsk, and one - to Krasnoyarsk. Forensic studies of the bodies of those who died during Sunday's blaze at a shopping mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo will require DNA tests in most cases, Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said on Wednesday.

No one is listed as missing after the fire, Russian Deputy Emergencies Minister Vladlen Aksyonov told TASS earlier. The Kemerovo region authorities are checking official lists of those killed in the fire against data from relatives and promise to post complete information about those killed and injured as soon as possible.

First funerals

Funerals for the fire victims began in Kemerovo on Wednesday. The first burials took place at the Kirovskoye cemetery.

The bodies of two children and one adult were brought to the cemetery in closed caskets following a funeral service held at the St. Trinity Church. The two kids from the Agarkov family and their grandmother were buried in the same grave.

Funeral services for the fire victims were held in three of the city’s churches. In Kemerovo’s Cathedral of the Sign, the last respects were paid to Tatyana Darsaliya, an English teacher. Deputy Director of the Kemerovo high school number 17 Irina Borisova told TASS that Darsalyia was very fond of kids and her work.

"Tatyana Darsalyia taught English at our school for three years. Just last Saturday, she had an event with her pupils. They loved her a lot and enjoyed her classes," Borisova said.

Kemerovo residents thanked people from all Russian cities for organizing remembrance events. Thousands of social network uses post photos of improvised memorials in memory of the Zimnyaya Vishnya fire victims, from Far Eastern Vladivostok to easternmost Kaliningrad.

Condition of those hurt

The number of those who sought medical assistance after the fire increased from 68 to 76. Twelve people, including two children are still in hospital.

A 17-year-old boy, who jumped out of the burning mall’s window on the fourth floor, is in an intensive care unit, in moderately severe condition. Ten more patients have minor injuries. Sixty-two people, including 25 children, received medical assistance on an outpatient basis.

Investigation and arrests of suspects

Kemerovo’s Zavodskoy District Court ruled on Wednesday to arrest all the five suspects under the criminal case. The shopping mall’s tenant Nadezhda Suddenok, the technical director of the shopping mall’s owner company Georgy Sobolev, employee and director of the company that maintained the mall’s fire alarm system Alexander Nikitin and Igor Polozinenko, and private security company guard Sergei Antyushin, who, according to investigators, did not switch on the fire alarm system, were placed in custody till May 25, 2018.

A criminal investigation has been launched into negligent homicide, fire safety rules violations resulting in the death of two or more persons and the provision of services failing to meet safety requirements.

Also on Wednesday, a court in Moscow issued an in absentia arrest warrant for Ukrainian pranker Nikita Kuvikov, who spread false rumors on the Internet about the number of casualties in the Kemerovo shopping and entertainment center fire. In addition, Kuvikov was placed on the wanted list.

Earlier, the Investigative Committee was reported to have opened a criminal case under Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code (Incitement of Hatred or Hostility). According to investigators, Kuvikov spread false rumors about the number of Kemerovo fire fatalities, thus misleading the relatives of victims and injured survivors and trying to destabilize the situation.

Kemerovo mall fire catastrophe

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 latest reports, the catastrophic inferno claimed the lives of 64 people, including 41 children.

According to President Vladimir Putin’s decree, Russia observed a day of national mourning on March 28. Flags were flying at half mast, and all entertainment events were cancelled across the country.

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