Managers of a Russian shopping center have been detained after a devastating fire killed dozens of people and reports that many children had scrambled to get away from the building where the alarm system didn’t work.
At least 64 people had been confirmed dead by authorities in the Siberian city of Keremovo, where the Winter Cherry center erupted in flames Sunday.
Nine children are believed to be among those killed and earlier reports said that many were still missing, according to state media reports on Monday.
Russias Investigative Committee said Monday that four people were detained and interrogated over the blaze, including the head of the centers management company and the tenant where the fire is believed to have started.
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Investigators said they had opened a case for criminal negligence in not providing series that fit within security regulations after eyewitnesses said that the fire alarm in the building did not work.
Billionaire Denis Shtengelov was identified was the owner of the shopping center, though he refused to answer questions about his involvement and told RBK that he was working with authorities.
No cause has been given for the fire, though early suspicions rest on electrical problems and a regional official gave an unconfirmed account that the disaster may have started when foam in a childrens trampoline room was set alight.
Media reports also said that guards in the building shut off stairwells in the building, stopping children who had been in the building from getting out.
Valentina Klopenko told Russia 24 that her daughter and a friend were blocked by guards and told to go to one stairwell and then another.
Aleksandr Khinshtein, an advisor to Russias federal guard service, posted on Twitter that his agency was looking into the reports and would punish anyone found responsible.