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Death toll rises to 48 in Russian shopping mall fire

Zoom  Zoom Issue Date:2018-03-26   Browse:913
 Members of the emergency ministry fire service try to put out the fire at the Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping mall in Kemerovo, Russia, on March 25, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]
MOSCOW - Up to 48 lives have been claimed due to a deadly blaze in a shopping mall in the south central Russian city of Kemerovo on Sunday, Russian news agency Sputnik reported, citing a representative of the crisis center set up to deal with the emergency.

Dense smoke is interfering with work on the site of the fire, the local Emergencies Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

According to the statement, specialists involved in the emergency response explained that the work at the scene is complicated by dense smoke, severe gas contamination, high temperatures, as well as unstable structures.

Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said that the first stage of search and rescue operations in the shopping center "Winter Cherry" will be completed by 18:00 local time (1100 GMT).

The number of injured stands at 45, while 64 people remain missing, including 41 children. Around 120 people were evacuated from the building, of which more than 1,000 square meters were consumed by the deadly fire, according to Sputnik.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry had previously planned to send more rescuers to the scene, Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov was quoted as saying by the website of the ministry.

It still remains unclear what caused the fire at the shopping mall.

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