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Investigators open criminal case against firefighter unit chief over Kemerovo mall fire

The Russian Investigative Committee (SKR) has opened a criminal case against the commander of the guard of the firefighters’ unit in the Kemerovo region under the Article 293 of the Criminal Code for alleged negligence. A massive fire broke out in the Zimnyaya Vishnya (Winter Cherry) shopping mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo on March 25, claiming 64 lives. Investigators believe that Sergey Genin, the commander of the unit of the gas and smoke protection service, “ignored the information about the shortest path to the cinema hall” after learning that there was a large number of people on the 4th floor. Instead, according to investigators, he directed the team to “the farthest staircase” from their location, and “they lost time that might have been used to save and evacuate people.” As a result, at least 37 people died, the SKR said, adding that searches are being held at Genin’s house, and he will be soon detained. The statement did not say if the man denies wrongdoing.