Newstalk
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06.54 26 Mar 2018


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Updated 13.35

At least 64 people - including children - have died following a fire at a shopping centre and entertainment complex in Russia.

Several others are unaccounted for, while 10 people were being treated in hospital following the blaze in the coal-mining city of Kemerovo.

44 people required medical assistance in the wake of the fire, Russia's TASS news agency reports.

Officials have yet to confirm how many children were killed in the blaze.

Russia's Investigative Committee has said the fire alarm system was switched off as the blaze took hold.

The committee also said fire exits at the mall were blocked, and that other "serious violations" have been discovered.

Four people - including one of the mall's tenants - have been held for questioning following the blaze, officials said.

The roofs collapsed in two cinema screens during the fire in the Winter Cherry mall.

Footage shown on Russian television showed some people leaping from the windows of the building to escape the blaze.

It is reported the complex also contained a petting zoo. It was unclear if any animals were killed.

Picture by: AP/Press Association Images

While the fire has been brought under control by hundreds of firefighters who attended the scene, emergency workers warned there is a risk of further collapses in the damaged building due to structural damage.

In a statement, Alexandre Eremeyev - an official with the local Russian emergency services ministry - said: "This shopping centre on several floors was packed with people midday Sunday.

"No one knows exactly how many people there were inside when the fire broke out. Where to look for people? How many are there? That has greatly complicated the work of the firefighters."

Kemerovo - which is home to around half a million people - is located in western Siberia, around 3,600km east of Moscow.

People lay flowers for the victims of a fire at a multi-story shopping center in the Siberian city of Kemerovo. Picture by: Sergei Gavrilenko/AP/Press Association Images

Additional reporting by IRN


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