Russian psychiatric hospital fire kills dozens | News | DW | 26.04.2013
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Russian psychiatric hospital fire kills dozens

A fire in a psychiatric hospital near the Russian capital, Moscow, has killed at least 38 people. Russian officials and local media said three had managed to escape.

The fire broke out on the roof of the hospital in Ramensky, southeast of Moscow late on Thursday evening, Russia's health ministry said, as many of the patients slept behind barred windows.

"According to preliminary reports, 38 people were killed, including two medical staff," Russia's RIA Novosti news agency quoted health ministry spokesman Oleg Salagai as saying.

The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations said 41 people were in the building at the time of the fire, three of whom managed to escape. It listed those missing as two female members of staff and 36 patients. Their ages ranged from 20 to 76, the ministry added.

"Thirty-six bodies have been recovered. Of these only seven were poisoned by carbon monoxide, the rest have burns," the spokeswoman for regional investigators, Irina Gumyonnaya, told Russia's RIA Novosti new agency.

That report appears to support media claims that most patients died in their sleep, having been given pacifying medication.

Investigators are still looking into the cause of the blaze.

The hospital had reportedly treated people with severe mental illness as well as alcohol and drug addiction.

ccp/dr (AFP, dpa, Reuters)