MOSCOW, (AFP) - The cause of a major fire at a shopping center in Siberia, the city of Kemerovo, Russia, which killed at least 64 people, began to unfold. Investigators say a security guard deliberately turns off a warning alarm system.
In addition to the fire alarm being turned off, emergency exit doors are also closed illegally.
The fires of the Winter Cherry complex are the deadliest in Russia since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Winter Cherry is an entertainment complex that includes a cinema and children's play area.
The Russian Investigative Committee, which used to handle large cases, said they were trying to bring mall owners and security guards for questioning. Security guards allegedly turned off the fire alarm system after learning there was a blaze on the upper floor of the mall.
"Serious (legal) violations occur when the mall is being built and when the mall is functioning. The emergency exit doors are closed, "committee spokesman Svetlana Petrenko said in a statement.
Related to this, four people have been detained by police for questioning. They include two employees of the company in charge of the fire alarm warning at the mall.
The emergency services team said they succeeded in extinguishing the fire, but then the fire flared again and spread. Rescuers are still trying to rescue the victims from the roof of the building that began to collapse.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Veronika Skortsova said of the scene, 13 people have been discharged to the hospital, including an 11-year-old boy who is in serious condition.
Russian media said the boy jumped from the window and his parents were killed. Dozens of other children were allegedly killed in the incident.
Many victims can only be identified through DNA testing. In addition, the unofficial list of missing citizens circulated in Russian media, including more than 20 children, and some 5 years old.
Russia's elected president Vladimir Putin, expressed his grief over the incident. But Mr. Putin has not spoken publicly about the tragedy, which sparked outrage at Kemerovo, a coal-producing region some 3,600km east of Moscow.
Not yet known whether there are still undiscovered people.