Freezing people die in dormitory fire in Siberia

The local energy company cut electric supplies to the dormitory for considerable debts

A horrible fire took place in the Siberian republic of Tuva. A two-storied wooden building of a dormitory went on fire on Wednesday morning, November 10th. Twenty-four people reportedly died in the fire, but the number of victims may grow as rescuers remove the rubble of the burnt building.

Fifteen fire vehicles arrived to extinguish the fire in five minutes after the alarm. However, people could not get out of the dormitory fast on account of barred windows. The fire blocked the central exit – the firemen had to remove the bars from the windows with the help of vehicles and steel ropes.

It became possible to rescue 76 people from the building. “People were running out with hardly any clothes on. The fire destroyed all their things; many people lost their loved ones in the fire,” an eyewitness said.

According to preliminary investigation, the fire was caused with ignition in the electrical control unit in the dormitory. The local energy company Tuvaenergo cut electric supplies to the dormitory for considerable debts at the end of October. When winter cold came to the republic (it is -26C now in Tuva), a lot of tenants connected their rooms to the control unit to make their electric heaters work. 

”For the time being, there are two versions pending,” spokesman for the local prosecuting administration, Vasili Krivdik told the Izvestia. “Someone opened the cutoff control unit and mixed up the wires, which resulted in short circuit. An arson is not excluded either. Firemen said that one of the rescued people smelled petrol. Investigators are currently working with that person.”

It became possible to extinguish the fire only in the morning. The building tumbled down during the fire. Twenty-four dead bodies and 19 fragments of bodies were found under the rubble. However, the number of victims may grow: there were 129 people registered in the dormitory, although a recent check up showed a different figure – 140 tenants.

”We can not find 25 tenants. They probably were not staying in the dormitory that night, or died in the fire. The Office of the Public Prosecutor instituted criminal proceedings in connection with violation of fire safety rules,” a law-enforcement officer said.

November 12th was announced the mourning day in Tuva.

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Author`s name Olga Savka