Fire at Russian mental patients’ home kills 23
MOSCOW – The Associated PressA fire swept through a Russian home for people with mental illnesses, killing 23 patients and injuring another 23, the emergency services said on Dec. 13.
The remaining 24 patients were safely evacuated, including some who had to be carried out of the building, and the four medical personnel working at the home were unhurt, they said.
Investigators have not yet determined the cause of this weekend’s fire, which broke out late Dec. 12 in Alferovka, a village in the Voronezh region about 600 kilometers south of Moscow. The fire in the one-story brick building was extinguished shortly after 3 a.m. on Dec. 13.
The fire started in a section of the home dedicated to patients who were unable to walk, emergency services official Igor Kobzev said on Russian state television. He said 39 of the patients in the home could not walk.
All of the patients at the Novokhopersky Neuropsychiatric Home were men and those who died were aged between 46 and 78, according to a list released by the emergency services. Those who were evacuated were placed in a nearby home for elderly and disabled people.
Similar fires at two other institutions for psychiatric patients in Russia took the lives of 75 people in 2013, leading to calls for stricter enforcement of fire safety standards.
Russia has a poor fire safety record with about 12,000 fire deaths reported in 2012. By comparison, the U.S., with a population roughly double Russia’s, recorded around 3,000 fire deaths in 2011.