Russian Investigative Committee determines cause of Kemerovo tragedy

 Russian Investigative Committee determines cause of Kemerovo tragedy

The Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping mall in Kemerovo was an unauthorized construction, spokesperson for the Russian Investigative Committee, Svetlana Petrenko, said.

The main regional inspector of the State Construction Supervision Tanzil Komkova was detained, she is to be charged with abuse of official capacity. "According to the investigation, Komkova did not take measures to stop the unauthorized erection of the Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping mall in the city of Kemerovo without a building permit, which caused the death of visitors to the shopping mall," Interfax cited Petrenko as saying.

Today, the suspect is to be charged, the investigation will request her arrest. In addition, Komkova's actions will be checked for corruption. Tanzily Komkova may face ten years in jail.

The investigation initiated a judicial fire and technical expertise, experts from St. Petersburg arrived in Kemerovo and have  started working. 

Kemerovo firefighting service official, Andrey Bursin, said that he thinks that the rapid spread of fire was caused by voids in the structure and the old air conditioning system. He specified that the work of firefighters was hampered by he configuration and size of the mall.

Fire witnesses report possible problems with wiring that could cause a fire. "The witness confirms that the fire's point of origin was on the playground," the judge Dmitry Shandrov said. "The cause of the fire, perhaps, was wiring or a spark from the ceiling - there was a whole bunch of cables," the testimony said.

The investigator said during a speech in court that, as follows from the testimony of another witness - deputy manager of the shopping mall, the employees had no fire drills, the fire alarm was broken.

According to Investigative Committee Chairman Alexander Bastrykin,  24 hours before the fire visitors could smell the burning wiring.

Russia's emergency ministry said that 20 people were brought down from the upper floors with the use of firefighting equipment; over 700 people were evacuated from the shopping mall.

Russia's emergency situations minister, Vladimir Puchkov, said that the priority of the work is payments to the victims and families of the deceased from the federal budget, as well as the provision of targeted assistance.

A total of  64 people, including 41 children, were killed in the fire that erupted at the Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping mall in Kemerovo on March 25.