23 killed in fire in old age home in Russia

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Moscow, Nov 5 (UNI) At least twenty three people have been killed in a fire in an old peoples home in the central Russian region of Tula.

A fire at the home for the elderly near Tula, 200 km south of Moscow, engulfed 1,700 square metre of space yesterday. It took five hours for the fire brigade to put out the blaze.

Hundreds of people were evacuated, the spokesman for the Russian Emergency Situation Ministry Viktor Beltsov told news agencies today.

''The casualty toll, according to latest reports, has reached 23,'' Mr Beltsov said, adding, ''The bodies are being identified, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.'' Prosecutors are investigating into possible violations of fire safety rules and negligence at the home.

A local police source told RIA Novosti news agency that a short circuit could have caused the fire.

Last June, at least 10 people were killed and four seriously injured in a fire at a home for old people in West Siberia.

Sixty-one people and medical personnel died in a fire at a retirement home in the Krasnodar region in southern Russia in March.

Last December, 46 patients at a Moscow drug treatment clinic died in a fire. At least nine students died and dozens were injured in a fire at a Moscow dormitory last October.

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