At least nine people have died and at least a dozen more were injured in a fire at a mental hospital in Siberia. The incident takes place less than a day after 45 women were killed in a fire at a drug treatment clinic in Moscow. Officials said there were more than 200 patients and about 15 staff in the hospital in Taiga, in the Kemerova province, when the second blaze broke out.
Emergency services rushed to bring out confused survivors while others struggled to put out the flames. Despite their efforts, news agencies reported fire destroyed more than 1,000 metres of roof and much of the second floor. It was a grim weekend for mental hospitals in Russia, which are usually housed in old, neglected buildings.
A third fire also broke out on Saturday, at a sanatorium for mentally ill children, in Tver, north of Moscow, but no-one died.
Officials believe the first fire – at the Moscow drug treatment clinic – was caused by arson. Victims could not escape, as an exit was blocked by a locked metal grille and windows had metal bars. They seem to have died from inhaling toxic fumes, before rescuers arrived.