At least 53 dead in Russia's Kemerovo shopping mall fire

At least 53 dead in Russia's Kemerovo shopping mall fire

Rescuers have found 53 bodies at the site of the fire that engulfed a shopping mall in the Russian Siberian city of Kemerovo, the operation headquarters said.

"Five more bodies were found near the cinema. The death toll reaches 53," a spokesman said.

Russian Deputy Emergencies Minister Vladlen Aksyonov said earlier that constructions in some of the areas of the shopping mall had been still smoldering.

"Two out of three cinema halls caved in from the fourth to the third floor of the building," TASS cited him as saying.

A spokesman for the operative emergencies headquarters at the site said earlier that "11 more bodies were discovered at the fire site in the area of cinema halls" adding up to previously reported 37 killed in the fire.

Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said that 16 people are still reported to be missing after the deadly blaze at a shopping mall.

The fire at the Zimnyaya Vishnya (Winter Cherry) shopping mall in central Kemerovo erupted on March 25on the top floor of the four-storey building engulfing an area of some 1500 square meters.

Twenty people were rescued from the blaze and about 100 were evacuated. The fire has been reported to be localized. A criminal investigation has been launched.

The shopping mall with an overall area of 23,000 square meters was opened in 2013. It has a parking lot for 250 cars, shops, a bowling alley, a children’s center, a cinema, food courts and a petting zoo.

The official representative of the Russian Investigative Committee Svetlana Petrenko said that  four people were detained and questioned within the framework of the criminal case into this fire.

The funeral costs for all the victims of this fire will be covered by the provincial government budget.

In accordance with the number of casualties, this fire is one of the four largest ones that occurred in Russia over the past 100 years.