Russian shopping mall fire kills at least 48

The cause of the fire at the shopping mall still remains unclear.

A fire at a shopping mall in a Siberian city killed at least 48 people, Russian officials said Monday.

At least 16 people were still missing, state news agency Tass reported, citing Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov.

The fire at the four-story Winter Cherry mall in Kemerovo was extinguished in the morning after burning through the night. Parts of the building were still smoldering and the floors of the cinema hall had caved in in places, another emergency official said.

“More bodies were discovered during the inspection of the scene and we confirm the death toll is at 48,” Deputy Emergencies Minister Vladlen Aksyonov said, according to Tass.

The news agency had earlier reported that 11 of the bodies had been found in the mall’s cinema. The shopping center opened in 2013 and also included a petting zoo, children’s center and bowling.

Tass said the fire started on the top floor but the cause wasn’t immediately known. A criminal investigation was begun.

The mall is about 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) east of Moscow.A shopping mall fire in March 2015 killed 11 people in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan some 800 kilometres (500 miles) east of Moscow.

In April 2013, a fire ravaged a psychiatric hospital in the Moscow region, killing 38 people, most of them patients who were engulfed by flames as they slept behind barred windows.

Just months later, in September 2013, 37 people were killed when a fire swept through a psychiatric hospital in the village of Luka in northwest Russia.

In 2009, 156 were killed in a nightclub fire in the city of Perm, 1,200 kilometres east of Moscow in one of the deadliest accidents in Russia’s modern history.At least 37 people were killed in a fire in a shopping mall in the south central Russian city of Kemerovo on Sunday, while many others are missing, officials said.

Earlier reports said 69 people, including 40 children, were missing. Firefighters are working at the scene to search for the missing, Xinhua reported.

Around 120 people were evacuated from the burned building, of which more than 1,000 square meters were ripped through by the deadly fire, according to local news agency Sputnik.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry has planned to dispatch more rescuers to the scene, Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said.

The cause of fire at the shopping mall still remains unclear.

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