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At least 9 dead after blaze traps bedridden patients in hospice outside Moscow

At least 9 dead after blaze traps bedridden patients in hospice outside Moscow
At least nine people have died after fire ripped through part of a Russian nursing home, leaving around 20 immobile patients trapped inside the facility as it was engulfed by flames. It's unclear what sparked the blaze.

The fire, which erupted shortly after midnight local time, spread to an area of approximately 15 square meters (160 square feet) before it was extinguished by firefighters.

The private care home, operating as a hospice, houses dozens of patients. It’s located in Krasnogorsk, northwest of Moscow. 

At the time of the incident, about two dozen bedridden patients were inside, local emergencies services told Interfax. The authorities have confirmed that at least nine people lost their lives due to the inferno. There have been conflicting reports as to the number of the victims. A source in the emergency services told TASS that 10 people died due to the exposure to smoke.

A total of 17 patients were evacuated by rescuers. Twenty people, among them both residents and staff, were able to leave the facility on their own.

Some 91 firefighters and 28 units of equipment were involved in the effort to extinguish the fire.

The facility was apparently not authorized to care for terminally ill patients, or serve as a nursing home, a spokesperson for the Krasnogorsk district administration told RIA Novosti.

“According to the documents, there should’ve been an ordinary residential building. No hospice has been registered here.”

Russia's state prosecutor's office has launched a probe into the incident.

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Investigators are currently looking into several possible causes that could have triggered the fire. There have been unconfirmed reports that a heating boiler malfunctioned and burst into flames. Another report claimed that the personal belongings of one of the patients caught fire, which then quickly spread to the rest of the floor.

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