28 Die in Fire at Russian School for Deaf
59 minutes ago
MAKHACHKALA, Russia - A fire raged through a boarding school for the deaf in southern Russia early Thursday, killing 28 children and injuring about 100 others, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.
Rescue efforts at the school in Makhachkala were slowed since the children had to be awakened individually because they could not hear alarms. Strong winds hindered efforts to extinguish the blaze.
Firefighters saved 138 people from the blaze, said ministry spokeswoman Marina Ryklina. Ministry officials said the fire may have been caused by a short circuit.
Some 100 suffered burns and smoke poisoning, the Interfax news agency reported. Thirty-nine of the injured were in serious condition, Echo of Moscow radio reported.
The children who died were aged 8 to 14, the ITAR-Tass news agency said.
Television footage showed smoke pouring out of the barred windows of the yellow brick building hours after the fire broke out. All the windows had shattered.
An Emergency Situations Ministry plane left Moscow for Makhachkala with medications for the injured.
The fire came on the heels of a deadly school blaze in northern Siberia earlier this week. A two-story, old wooden school in a village in the republic of Yakutia was completely destroyed in the fire Monday, which killed 22 students between the ages of 11 and 18 and injured at least 10.
Fifty people a day — 18,000 a year — die in fires in Russia. Most are caused by people smoking while drinking or carelessness. There are also inadequate fireproofing and alarm systems in many buildings.
The fire death toll is 4 1/2 times greater than in the United States, which has twice the population. The contrast is even starker with the United Kingdom, which sees 600 fire deaths a year, or one per 100,000 people — compared to 12.5 per 100,000 in Russia.
Russia's Izvestia newspaper reported that last year, 700 fires damaged school buildings across Russia.
That's so sad and it affected me greatly.....