News that 38 die in mental hospital fires in Russia has been met with more tragic details today as ABC News reported that 29 of those 38 were burned alive.
Previous reports indicated that most of the patients died in their beds of smoke inhalation — see the video below — but the investigation is still underway.
The fire occurred at a hospital in the Ramensky settlement, about 50 miles to the north of Moscow.
Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said half the patients were under heavy sedation during the night as a blaze ignited and spread throughout the one-story hospital building.
Health Ministry officials noted that the fire began in the building’s wooden annex and spread quickly to the 1950s-era main brick building, which also had wooden beams.
Reports indicate that 41 people were in the building at the time. Only one nurse and two patients managed to escape.
Two of the dead were doctors and 36 patients, The Emergencies Ministry reported, with each of the victims ranging in age from 20 to 76. Most of the deceased patients suffered from severe mental health conditions, authorities claimed.
Responding to the tragedy, President Vladimir Putin emphasized the importance of safety regulations to regional authorities and called for a full investigation into the incident.
Yahoo! News reported that investigators were looking at “violations of fire regulations and a short circuit” as the probable cause.
The fire started around 2:30 am [local time]. By the time emergency fire services arrived on the scene, the entire one-story building was engulfed in flames.
The fire burned an area of about 420 square meters.
ABC added that Russia’s poor safety record goes beyond the 38 die in mental hospital story. In fact, last year, a lack of fire safety resulted in 12,000 deaths compared to the United States, which reported 3,000 deaths that were fire-related.
(The US has a population of about 310 million people compared to about half of that in Russia.)
What do you think caused 38 to die in the mental hospital blaze?
[Image via ShutterStock]