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article imageEleven dead in fire in Siberian workers' shack

By AFP     Jan 21, 2020 in World

Eleven people including 10 from Uzbekistan died when a fire ripped through a wooden shack in a remote Siberian village on Tuesday, in the latest tragedy involving migrant workers in Russia.

Millions of migrant workers from Central Asia live in Russia, where they often perform menial jobs for low pay under lax safety conditions.

Regional authorities said that in the early hours of Tuesday the fire raced through a shack on the grounds of a private saw mill in the Prichulymsky settlement in the Tomsk region of western Siberia.

The shack was "unfit for habitation", regional authorities said.

"People were living in a structure that was not intended for it, and which also had barred windows," said regional governor Sergei Zhvachkin, who visited the scene.

"Investigators will establish the cause of the blaze and the guilty will be punished," he said in remarks released by his office.

Images released by investigators showed firefighters combing through the burned shell of the shack in a snow-covered field.

Russia's emergencies ministry said in a statement that the bodies of 11 people had been found.

Regional authorities said that according to preliminary information 10 of the victims were from Uzbekistan. Two people escaped the fire unharmed.

Zhvachkin ordered officials to conduct fire safety checks of similar sites in the region.

Investigators said they had opened a criminal probe into negligent manslaughter, adding the cause of the blaze was being established.

Authorities in Uzbekistan said they were working to identify the victims.

Deadly fires have frequently killed migrant workers in Russia living in cramped and unsafe housing.

Earlier this month eight Vietnamese migrant workers died after a fire swept through cabins housing them at a greenhouse facility outside Moscow.

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