Fire at construction site in Moscow region kills 11 workers

A fire at a makeshift barracks for construction workers in the Moscow region killed 11 and injured four Thursday, authorities said.

The blaze occurred in the town of Pavshinskaya Poima, about 5 kilometers (3 miles) outside the Moscow city limits, and gutted six metal barracks where workers slept, Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Natalya Lukash said.

A Moscow regional prosecutor told NTV television that an investigation had been opened into charges of violations of fire safety rules. He said investigators were also looking into the possibility that careless handling of fire had sparked the blaze.

The workers died from smoke inhalation, Ekho Moskvy radio reported. Many Russian construction sites are equipped with metal containers where workers sleep between shifts.

Ekho Moskvy said that all the workers killed Thursday were migrants from other parts of Russia or former Soviet republics. Such migrants, many of them undocumented workers at the mercy of corrupt bureaucrats and police, fill low-paying jobs throughout Moscow and surrounding regions, the AP says.

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