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article imageDevastating fire kills 38 in Russian psychiatric hospital

By Anne Sewell     Apr 26, 2013 in World
Ramenskoye - 38 people are feared dead as a fire engulfed a psychiatric hospital north of Moscow early on Friday morning. A nurse managed to escape with two patients.
The fire broke out in a hospital located in Ramensky, about 80 miles north of Moscow.
According to the Emergency Situations Ministry the fire started on or under the roof of the hospital at about 2:20 a.m. (22:20 GMT on Thursday), but did not give the cause. RT is reporting in the video above that it might possibly have been caused by an electrical fault and the police are reporting the cause as a short circuit.
According to the Moscow region's acting Governor, Andrei Vorobvov, the hospital was a "special regime" facility, which meant that patients were locked in and there were bars over many of the building's windows.
Some of the patients apparently died while trying to access the main entrance to escape and many others reportedly died in their beds, according to Itar-Tass.
"The nearest fire station is a 40-minute drive away," Vorobvov said.
"The fire spread very rapidly. The fire alarm went off, but only two people [hospital patients] managed to leave the building. The two patients managed to escape with the help of a nurse who was roused by a fire alarm," he added.
There were believed to be 41 people in the building at the time the fire occurred including 38 patients and three staff members. A nurse managed to raise the alarm and led two patients to safety.
Emergency official Yuri Deshyovykh was quoted as saying, "After the fire alarm went off, a nurse ... saw fire at the end of a corridor. She tried to put it out but could not and led two patients out."
A law enforcement source told TASS, “The fire started when they were asleep.”
They added that people had little chance to escape: “Some of them tried to escape but were poisoned by the products of combustion," he said. The fire, meanwhile, has now been fully extinguished but the building "burned down almost completely.”
Emergency workers have found 14 bodies so far and the fire has now been extinguished.
Reuters is reporting that fires at state institutions in Russia are common in recent years and have raised questions about safety measures, escape routes and conditions. These fires have affected schools, hospitals, drug treatment centers and homes for the handicapped or elderly.
In 2011 over 12,000, and in the first nine months of 2012 more than 7,700 died in fires in Russia.
More about Russia, Moscow, ramensky, Fire, psychiatric hospital
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