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30 Aug, 2010 02:41

Fire kills nine at retirement home in Russia

Nine people have been killed and two badly injured in a fire at a retirement home in the Tver Region, in western Russia.

The Emergencies Ministry says there is evidence suggesting one of the residents committed suicide by setting himself alight, and then the flames spread throughout the building.

“At 5:05am [Moscow time], the local fire department was informed of a blaze in the nursing home. Fire engines arrived at the site within three minutes and the fire had been put out by 5:30am,” said Darya Korovina from Emergencies Ministry. “Several possibilities as to what caused the fire are now being considered. One of them is that the fire was started by one of the residents, a war veteran who may have set himself on fire. An empty petroleum canister was found in his room.”

Russia's Emergencies Ministry also says those who died are most likely to have suffocated from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Over 480 residents were evacuated safely.

The last time a similar tragedy occurred in Russia was in 2009 when 25 people were died in a blaze at a retirement home in Russia's northwestern republic of Komi. In a separate incident in 2008, a fire at a nursing home in the south of Russia claimed 63 lives.