Heart-breaking tales from families of shopping centre blaze victims

Tributes laid to victims of Russian shopping centre fire tragedy
Tributes laid to victims of Russian shopping centre fire tragedy
By Mark Armstrong
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One man tells how he lost his two children in the blaze at the Winter Cherry mall in Kemorovo. At least 64 people died in the fire.


As investigators continue to search for answers as to how the events unfolded at the Winter Cherry shopping centre fire in Kemerovo, mourners laid flowers and other tributes nearby. One woman recounted what a group of children had told her.

"We had decided to go play on the fourth floor, as usual, at the arcade machines. They (a group of children) went in and started to go up and they were met with such a blaze, fire, smoke. Everyone started to run away. But they were not allowed through. The security guards they said, I asked who wasn't letting you through? Security guards, the men who were in uniform, they said."Some residents scoured the lists of missing people to try to find out what happened to their loved ones.

Eduard Kovalevsky, lost his two children in the blaze. They had gone to the cinema with a family friend.

He showed photos of his children to journalists.  "This is my daughter, Svetlana, she was five. And this is Yegor, he should have turned ten on April 3."

"My friend rang from the burning building and said they coudn't breathe. I could hear children cyring."

Another told of the chaotic scenes at the mall after the fire broke out.

"There was panic, chaos, people were running away. It was getting dark. The lights went off, escalators did not work, elevators did not work. People were running away, falling on the way. The fire-alarm was not operational".

The mall was a popular destination for families and it was packed with visitors when the fire broke out, on the first weekend of the school holidays.

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