Deadly Russian Nightclub Blaze Kills 109, Many More Injured

December 5, 2009

(ChattahBox)—A deadly blaze in a Russian nightclub outside of Moscow left 109 people dead last night, which was started by a stray spark from an indoor fireworks display. Many of the club goers died from smoke inhalation and a stampede, as toxic smoke from the quickly moving fire caused a panic, blocking the only exit. At least 134 people are hospitalized and many are in serious condition.

The fire happened shortly before midnight at the Lame Horse nightclub in the center of Perm, a large industrial city with a population of about a million, some 720 miles east of Moscow. The pyrotechnic fireworks display was set off to celebrate the club’s eighth anniversary. But the celebration soon turned to terror, as the flames from a spark quickly ignited the club’s highly flammable wicker walls and ceiling covered with twigs and plastic sheeting.

Officials said there were about 200 people in the crowded club at the time of the fire.

A witness told Reuters that dozens of charred bodies were seen piled on the pavement outside the club, as emergency personnel placed the injured into ambulances.

Russian officials were quick to dispel the notion that the fire was the result of a terrorist attack. Last week a bomb set off, by Chechen Islamist militants on a train traveling between Moscow and St Petersburg, killed 26 and injuring more than 100 people.

The Russian Federal Security Service said that no evidence of explosives was found at the scene of the night club blaze.

A criminal case has been launched to investigate safety violations at the club and authorities have arrested the owner and manager of the destroyed club. Authorities are looking for an additional four suspects.

President Dmitry Medvedev was outraged by the safety violations that led to over 100 deaths and called for stiff criminal penalities. He declared Monday a day of mourning for the victims.

Vladimir Markin, an official at the prosecutor general’s investigation committee, told the Interfax news agency that “The accident was due to a violation of instructions when launching fireworks.”

Fire safety standards have long been lax in Russia, with deadly blazes at orphanages, nursing homes, and other government institutions a common occurence.

A similar tragedy occured in West, Warick Rhode Island in 2003 at a nightclub where the heavy metal band Great White used a Pyrotechnics display, which set off a deadly blaze, kiling nearly 100 people.


Photo Source: Reuters


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