Russia Buries Victims Of Mall Fire


Russia, on Wednesday held a national day of mourning and buried the first victims of a fire that ravaged a busy shopping centre killing 64 people, most of them children.
Flags were lowered and entertainment events cancelled three days after Sunday’s devastating fire in the western Siberian city of Kemerovo, one of the deadliest recorded in Russia over the past century.
The youngest victim was a two-year-old boy, while at least 19 of the 64 people who perished were under 10, said a list published by regional authorities. A total 41 children died in the fire.
A criminal investigation has been opened and five people have been detained over the incident amid public anger over blatant violations reported by investigators including non-functioning fire alarms and locked cinema doors.
President Vladimir Putin — who was this month re-elected for a fourth term — yesterday told the top investigator in charge of the probe to check “all the versions” and said many questions remained unanswered, state news agency RIA Novosti reported.
“The fire alarm hadn’t worked for a week. Why?” Putin told Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin, also querying why a public warning system was not switched on, why doors were locked and why flammable materials were used in construction.
Putin condemned rumours that the real toll was much higher, blaming these on bogus stories posted on social networks, including from abroad, and warned against attempts to “sow distrust.”
“We definitely must not allow this in any circumstances,” said Putin, who has said he does not surf the Internet.

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