Reasons for deaths in Russian psychiatric hospital become clearer

Posted Apr 26, 2013 by Stephen Morgan
The reasons for the high number of deaths in the Russian psychiatric hospital blaze seem to be a combination of the nature of the facility and incompetence of the fire services.
A fire engulfed a psychiatric hospital close to Moscow in Russia.
A fire engulfed a psychiatric hospital close to Moscow in Russia.
The New York Times reports that it was a “special regime,” in other words a lock down facility for severely ill psychiatric patients who were not allowed to leave. Russia Today (RT) reports an official who said that “There were patients with acute psychosis, alcoholics and one drug addict. We also had patients with schizophrenia.”The hospital was in the town of Ramensky near Moscow.
It seems that the restrictions and the regime in the hospital played a major role in the scale of deaths. RT reports that some patients couldn't' escape because most windows had bars. It adds, however, that many of them were found dead in their beds and most likely died because they were heavily sedated and unable to move. Seven bodies were found near the exit, who had died of carbon monoxide poisoning before they could get through the doors. All the others were burned alive.
There are the usual suspicions about electrical faults or arson and one patient, who survived accused a drug addict, who regularly broke fire regulations and smoked in the hospital. But what probably also contributed considerably to the scale of the disaster was the incompetency of rescue services. The nearest fire station was 50kms (30 miles) away. RIA Novosti says that not only did it take them an hour to arrive at the scene, but worse still they came totally unprepared. RT says that a local resident who witnessed the fire, told the media that, firefighters could not extinguish the blaze due to a lack of water: “The first car arrived without water. Then another came – also empty. It was only the third car that had water.”
Russia is notorious for such incidents and very often inspectors can be bribed. There have been 19 similar incidents in the last 7 years, mostly in old people's homes.