MOSCOW, April 11. /TASS/. Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a negligence case against Sergei Genin, a fire squad commander, whom investigators believe to be responsible for the deaths of 37 people in Kemerovo’s Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping mall fire, Investigative Committee Spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko said.
"According to investigators, Sergei Genin headed a gas and smoke protection unit during the operation to combat the shopping mall fire," she said. "He entered the burning building alongside his unit members and was informed that a large group of people were trapped in a movie theater on the fourth floor, while nearby stairs were the shortest way to reach them," Petrenko added.
However, Genin failed to act immediately. "Instead of wasting time, firefighters should have been evacuating people to a safe place. As a result of Genin’s negligence, at least 37 people died in the movie theater," the Investigative Committee spokesperson noted, adding that Genin would be apprehended shortly.
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. The catastrophic inferno claimed the lives of 64 people, including 41 children.