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Russia grieves for nightclub blaze victims

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Russia grieves for nightclub blaze victims

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Hundreds of red carnations and candles have been placed outside the smoking ruins of a Russian nightclub where 109 people died and 140 were injured in a blaze ignited by a firework.

Monday has been declared a national day of mourning. Some of those severely injured in the fire were flown to hospital in Moscow and St Petersburg for specialist burns treatment as the grim task of identifying the dead got underway. President Dmitry Medvedev is demanding severe punishments for the owners of the club in the city of Perm, 1100 kilometres east of Moscow. He described the disaster as nothing less than a crime. Failure to adhere to safety regulations caused inflammable wicker coverings on the walls and ceiling to catch fire. Revellers rushed for the one and only exit. Many of the victims were suffocated by toxic fumes. Some of those who managed to escape suffered 60 per cent burns. Seriously injured survivors are being kept alive on respirators and it seems certain the number of dead will continue to rise. Five people have been arrested pending further investigation.