Nursing home fire kills 62 in Russia

Associated Press • Mar 21, 2007 at 12:03 PM

KAMYSHEVATSKAYA, Russia - Flames engulfed a nursing home in this village without a fire station Tuesday, killing 62 frail and elderly residents after the night watchman ignored two alarms and emergency teams took nearly an hour to arrive. At least 30 people were injured.

Coming a day after a gas explosion that killed more than 100 coal miners in Siberia, the fire could undermine Kremlin contentions that conditions are improving in newly prosperous Russia.

Angry residents hurled accusations of negligence at the regional envoy of President Vladimir Putin, who announced that Wednesday would be a national day of mourning for those killed in the fire and mine catastrophe as well as a plane crash Saturday that killed six.

Authorities blamed the nursing home disaster on safety violations at the home, toxic building materials used in a renovation, negligence by the staff and the nearest firehouse being about 30 miles from Kamyshevatskaya, a town on the Azov Sea in southern Russia.

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