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Warehouse fire kills at least 17 migrant workers

05 September 2016

A fire at a printing warehouse in northern Moscow that killed at least 17 migrant workers on Saturday 27 August was triggered by a faulty electrical lamp, officials have said.

The fire started around 7:00am in the warehouse’s first-floor loading zone and quickly climbed an elevator shaft to the fourth floor, where around 30 workers were finishing their night shift. Firefighters arrived five minutes after receiving a call and extinguished the fire within two hours. They rescued at least 12 people, but also found 16 bodies.

Many workers were trapped in a remote room of the building, and the firefighters had to destroy a wall to reach them, the state-run Rossiya 24 news channel reported. Five people were hospitalised, and one of them, a 20-year-old woman, later died. Most of the warehouse’s workers were from Kyrgyzstan and were legally permitted to work in Russia.

“All victims are young women,” Abdygani Shakirov, a representative of Kyrgyz immigrants in Moscow, told the Interfax news agency. “They were in a changing room and could not get out. The smoke has cut off the exit for them.” The building was equipped with working smoke detectors, firefighters said. The Investigative Committee, Russia’s federal policing agency, said it would open a criminal investigation into the cause of the fire. In January, 12 people, including 10 migrant workers, died in a fire at another warehouse in Moscow.

 
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