37 missing after Russian psychiatric hospital fire
SAINT PETERSBURG (AFP) - At least two people were killed and over 30 reported missing after a fire swept through a wooden psychiatric hospital in north-west Russia, in the latest tragedy to hit the country’s mental health institutions.
The fire in the hospital in the village of Luka-Oksochi, 220 kilometres south-east of Saint Petersburg appeared to have been started by a patient who was either smoking or deliberately set fire to his bed, officials said.
The institution was made out of wood and officials said that it had been previously warned by the judicial authorities to improve its fire security. A criminal probe has been opened into suspected negligence.
The governor of the local Novgorod region, Mr Sergei Mitin, told the Rossiya 24 news channel that two corpses had already been found. However, the final toll risks being far higher.