15 killed in Russian apartment fire

February 15th, 2009 - 9:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Rostov-on-Don (Russia), Feb 15 (RIA Novosti) At least 15 people have died in an apartment fire in southern Russia, regional emergency officials said Sunday.

The fire that broke out Saturday in a three-storey wooden residential building in Molodezhny village in Astrakhan region forced the authorities to evacuate all tenants from the building.

A total of 59 people were safely evacuated while 15 lost their lives, according to the regional emergencies centre.

The centre said seven people had been hospitalised while three others were missing.

Investigators meanwhile said careless handling of fire was being examined as the main cause for the incident.

In a similar incident a week ago, twenty-three people, most of them elderly persons, died in a fire that destroyed a wooden care home in Komi in northwestern Russia.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered Thursday to carry out comprehensive inspections of all Russian retirement homes following the deadly fire at the Komi care facility.

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