At least 37 people died because of a fire that burned a shopping mall in Kemerovo, Russia. Many people are still missing, and many of them are children.

The fire took place in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, about 2000 miles east Moscow. It all started around 5 p.m. (local time) on Sunday, at the fourth and last floor of the Winter Cherry Mall. According to the Russian authorities, about 60 people are still missing. They have little chance to survive.

“According to the information at the moment, 41 children are among those missing in the fire and inquired by their relatives,” a source said.

Many of the victims are children

According to Vladimir Chernov, a deputy governor of the Kemerovo region, the fire started in the entertainment center for children located on the fourth floor of the mall. There was a trampoline in it with foam rubber.

“The preliminary version is that one of the children had a lighter,” Mr. Chernov told the relatives, according to Interfax. “The fire started from the trampoline pool, filled with foam rubber, which got lit up as gunpowder.”

Most of the victims and the missing are children because of that fact. Chernov said that apparently, the fire alarm didn’t work and that the cinema hall’s doors were shut.

At first, the reports indicated that about five people had died. However, the death toll and the number of missing people started increasing quickly. The fire persisted after midnight.

More than 30 people have been hospitalized, according to the state-run news agency Tass. Apparently, more than 40 people were injured in the fire.

Kemerovo, Russia
The fire initiated around 5 p.m. on Sunday on the top floor at the Children’s entertainment center. Image credit: The New Daily

People jumped off the windows to escape the flames

The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal investigation to discover the causes started the fire. President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences to the relatives of the victims and all those affected by the fire.

288 emergency personnel, 62 fire units, and an airborne group were sent to help in the light, according to Yevgeny Dedyukhin, deputy head of the Kemerovo region emergency department.

Videos and photos of the fire have spread all over the world across the social networks. The material shows people jumping off the windows of the mall to escape the flames and the smoke. According to Tass, the fire consumed an area of about 16,150 square feet.

The Winter Cherry mall was opened in 2013. It had a big cinema, a petting zoo, a bowling center and the children’s entertainment room. It has a parking lot for 250 cars.

A similar event occurred in 2009, when more than 100 people died in a fire at a nightclub in Perm.

Source: The New York Times