Kemerovo shopping centre fire: Teenagers set fire to foam cubes

According to most recent reports, the fire in Kemerovo's "Winter Cherry" shopping centre started when several teenagers set fire to foam cubes in the ball pit of the trampoline room.

Reportedly, two teenagers started the fire when an employee of the centre saw them. He tried to put the fire down, but failed, so he showed the arsonists the way out, and they survived. The employee survived the fire as well - he described the way the arsonists looked, a source close to Kemerovo law-enforcement authorities said.

Yet, investigators also believe that the fire could start as a result of a short circuit and the improper handling of candles at a children's party.

It was also said that an employee of a private security company deactivated the fire alarm soon after the fire broke out.

The fire at Kemerovo's "Winter Cherry" shopping centre started on March 25 at about 4:00 p.m. local time (12:00 p.m. MSK). Sixty-four people were killed and 44 were hurt as a result of the tragedy in Kemerovo.

President Putin expressed deep condolences to relatives of the victims. The Kremlin has canceled festive ceremonies to award young cultural activists.

The Kemerovo region will hold three days of mourning in memory of the victims on March 27, 28 and 29.

An eleven-year-old boy, who jumped out of the window of the burning building, remains in critical condition. He suffered multiple bone fractures, cranial injuries and contusion of internal organs. The boy lost his entire family in the fire - his parents and a younger sister.

The Kemerovo fire has become one of the four largest fires in Russia in a hundred years in terms of the number of victims. Three other major tragedies are the fire at the Samara Internal Affairs Directorate (1999, 57 victims), the fire in the nursing home in the Krasnodar region (2007, 63 victims) and the fire at "Lame Horse" night club in Perm (2009, 153 victims).


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