Fire kills 8 at Russian drug rehab centre: investigators

MOSCOW (AFP) - Eight people were killed on Sunday when a fire ravaged a drug rehab centre in Russia's Altai region, investigators said, raising fresh questions about security standards in the country's medical facilities.

Their bodies were found after authorities put out the blaze in a private drug rehab centre, dubbed "Chisty List" (Clean Slate) which overlooks a picturesque lake near Barnaul, investigators said in a statement.

Another six people from the private drug and alcohol abuse treatment centre were injured as the fire ripped through the building, said regional emergencies ministry spokesman Andrei Pozdnyakov.

"Only the walls remained," Mr Pozdnyakov said, adding that the rest of the patients have been moved into a local school.

Emergency services have not ruled out negligence as a possible cause of the fire.

Every year fires kill scores of people in Russia, which suffers from outdated Soviet-era infrastructure and lax security procedures. Medical institutions and care facilities are especially vulnerable.

In September 2013, 37 people were killed when a blaze swept through a psychiatric hospital in northwest Russia.

In April last year, another fire killed 38 people, mostly psychiatric patients, at a hospital near Moscow.

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