Yesterday, March 25th, at least 64 people died in a fire in a Russian shopping center. And the Russian mall fire was captured on film in a tragic video.
According to CNN, the fire broke out in the Winter Cherry shopping center in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, which was packed with Sunday afternoon shoppers. Currently, investigators believe that the blaze began in the cinema hall. CNN reported that the mall’s exits were blocked, preventing many from escaping. About 100 people were evacuated, but many others remained trapped inside, and people could be seen jumping out of windows in the four-story building as the flames spread. Many of the fire’s 64 victims were children.
Reuters reported that Russia’s Investigative Committee questioned the owner of the mall after it learned that a security guard had turned off the fire alarms, and the Investigative Committee reportedly wished to detain the security guard as well. In a statement, Svetlana Petrenko, a spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee said that the blocked exits were among “serious violations” that occurred in the construction and operation of the mall.
According to BBC News, the fire’s cause is unknown. Four people are currently under investigation, including the head of the company that manages the mall.
The inferno raged for 12 hours in total, and the Investigative Committee told the Russian TASS news agency that 16 people are still missing.
Videos captured thick smoke billowing from the shopping center.
Winter Cherry had been open since 2013 and was a major family attraction in Kemerovo. The shopping center also featured a children’s center, a bowling alley, and a petting zoo. In addition to the human victims, about 200 petting zoo animals also died in the blaze. The regional administration has implemented a three-day mourning period for those lost in the fire, which will begin on March 27th.
We hope that authorities can discover the cause of the Russian mall fire soon. In the wake of this tragedy, our hearts break for the community of Kemerovo.