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Members of the emergency ministry fire service try to put out the fire at the Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping mall in Kemerovo, Russia.
  --Photo Xinhua/Sputnik

Death toll from Russian mall fire rises to 53

MOSCOW (Xinhua) -- At least 53 people were killed in a fire at a shopping mall in the south central Russian city of Kemerovo, Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said Monday.
The fire, which started Sunday afternoon, has been put out, but rescuers are still struggling to reach the upper floors because the roof of the building collapsed.
A spokesperson of Russia’s Investigative Committee said 11 people injured in the fire were currently being treated in hospital and over 40 have asked for medical help due to the fire, according to a report by Sputnik.
TV images showed black smoke billowing from the Winter Cherry shopping centre, a business complex that also houses a cinema which is usually packed with audience on Sunday afternoons.
According to an earlier statement by the Emergency Ministry, specialists participating in the search and rescue effort said the work at the scene is complicated by dense smoke, severe gas contamination, high temperatures, as well as unstable structures.
Some 120 people were evacuated from the mall following the fire, rescuers said.
Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said the first stage of search and rescue operations would be completed by 6pm local time.
It still remains unclear what caused the fire at the shopping mall.


(Latest Update March 27, 2018)

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