At least 64 people have died in a fire that razed through a shopping and entertainment complex in the Siberian coal-mining city of Kemerovo.
Many of the victims are said to be children, Russian officials say, with 10 people still listed as missing. The blaze started on an upper floor of the Winter Cherry complex while many of the victims were at the cinema.
Video posted on social media showed people jumping from windows to escape the flames on Sunday. “According to preliminary information, the roof collapsed in two cinemas,” Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement.
The cause of the fire is not yet known and authorities have launched an investigation. The region’s deputy governor Vladimir Chernov was quoted as saying the fire began in a children’s trampoline room.
“The preliminary suspicion is that a child had a cigarette lighter which ignited foam rubber in this trampoline room, and it erupted like gunpowder,” he said.
Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, Anna Kuznetsova, blamed negligence, and called for urgent safety checks at similar entertainment complexes. Some 660 emergency personnel were deployed in the rescue effort. Firefighters tackled the blaze for more than 17 hours.
Kemerovo, a key coal-producing area, lies about 3,600km (2,200 miles) east of Moscow.