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37 dead, dozens missing after fire at Siberian mall

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37 dead, dozens missing after fire at Siberian mall

Image: Siberian mall fire
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Russian Emergency Situations Ministry
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At least 37 people were killed Sunday when fire swept through a movie theater and the top floor of a shopping mall in Siberia, Russian authorities and news agencies reported.

Authorities had yet to determine the cause of the fire, which blazed for 12 hours at the Zimnyaya Vishnya, or Winter Cherry, mall in Kemerovo, about 120 miles northeast of Novosibirsk. The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, the Russian equivalent of the FBI, confirmed that a criminal investigation had been opened.

Smoke rises above a multistory shopping center in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, Russia, on Sunday.
Smoke rises above a multistory shopping center in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, Russia, on Sunday.Russian Emergency Situations Ministry

The fire, which started on the fourth floor, consumed more than 17,000 square feet of the mall, which opened in 2013, the Russian news agency TASS reported. Vladimir Chernov, first deputy governor of the Kemerovo region, told TASS that 13 of the bodies were found in a movie theater.

More than 17,000 square feet of the Winter Cherry mall were destroyed in the fire Sunday in the Siberian city of Kemerovo.
More than 17,000 square feet of the Winter Cherry mall were destroyed in the fire Sunday in the Siberian city of Kemerovo.Sergei Gavrilenko

The government-funded news service RT reported that 11 children were among the dead. It said that 37 other people were being treated in hospitals and that 69 more were still believed to be missing — about 40 of them children.

RT reported that multiple witnesses said the fire alarm didn't sound. Television pictures showed people jumping from the windows to escape the choking black smoke, the independent newspaper The Moscow Times reported.