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Fire tragedy at Kemerovo shopping mall leaves at least 64 dead

According to the Emergencies Ministry, 16 people are still missing

KEMEROVO, March 26. /TASS/. The death toll from a blaze that ravaged a shopping mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo has reached 64, Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov told reporters.

"Regrettably, we have to announce that 64 people have died in the disaster," he said. Six bodies are yet to be recovered.

The risk of building collapse remains, nonetheless. According to the emergencies minister, structure reinforcement equipment has been delivered to Kemerovo.

Puchkov said earlier that 16 people were still reported to be missing after the deadly blaze.

The number of people injured by the fire has reached 52, Russian Deputy Emergencies Minister Vladlen Aksyonov said.

"As of 18:00 local time, 12 people remain hospitalized in Kemerovo’s medical facilities, while another 40 are receiving outpatient care," he said.

Kemerovo region First Deputy Governor Vladimir Chernov added that the identification of 17 fire victims had begun.

Four people have been detained for questioning, including the lessee of an outlet where the fire is believed to have started.

On March 25, a fire erupted on the top floor of the four-storey Zimnyaya Vishnya (or Winter Cherry) shopping mall, engulfing a total of 1,500 square meters. The fire was extinguished but, in Puchkov’s words, the rubble has started to smolder due to the multilayer floorings in the building. Firefighters are currently dousing the smoldering spots found earlier.