Two Days After the Kemerovo Mall Fire: Here's What We Know So Far
Kirill Kukhmar / TASS
Russia continues to mourn the victims of Sunday’s shopping mall fire in Siberia as residents demand the removal of their leadership and investigators attempt to find the cause of the deadly blaze. Here’s what we know so far on the third day after the tragedy that claimed at least 64 lives.
* Official data from Russia’s Investigative Committee says that 64 people died in the fire.
* An unofficial list compiled by the families of the victims lists 85 people as missing after the fire, 70% of whom are children between the ages of 10 and 13.
* Earlier reports suggesting that more than 300 people died in the fire were reportedly based on a fake telephone conversation published on YouTube by a blogger based in Ukraine.
* According to data published by the Kemerovo administration, 25 bodies have been identified at the site of the fire, while another 38 people are missing.
* An estimated 1,500 residents showed up at the steps of the Kemerovo region administration on Tuesday, calling for the resignation of the mayor and the regional government.
* State-run television ignored the 11-hour-long spontaneous mass rally in coverage on Tuesday, though tens of thousands of people watched live streams of the event on YouTube.
* Neither President Vladimir Putin nor Kemerovo region governor Aman Tuleyev arrived to address the crowd.
* Kemerovo deputy governor Sergei Tsivilev was filmed getting on his knees in front of the crowd of protesters, saying: “I ask for forgiveness from the people who found themselves in this difficult situation.”
* President Putin laid flowers at a makeshift memorial to the victims before visiting a group of citizens outside the local morgue.
— "Don't even doubt it, everyone responsible will be punished," Putin was cited as saying.
* Kemerovo region governor Aman Tuleyev, 73, “personally” apologized to President Vladimir Putin for the tragedy but declined to meet the hundreds of furious residents demanding his resignation.
— “These aren’t the victims’ relatives at all, these are people who always stir trouble,” Tuleyev told Putin during a briefing in Kemerovo earlier in the day.
* Investigators have charged four suspects, including two employees of the firm that services the mall’s fire alarm. The fifth suspect, a security guard who had allegedly not turned on the public address system to warn people to evacuate the building, is expected to be charged as well.
* Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, said that the fire was likely caused by a short-circuit or, less-likely, arson.
Day of mourning
* President Vladimir Putin declared Wednesday, March 28, a national day of mourning.
* Makeshift memorials have been set up across the country with flowers and stuffed toys.
* The Red Cross collected 14 million rubles ($245,000) in donations for the families of the victims on its website by early Tuesday.