A fire Saturday at a private shelter in the Siberian city of Kemerovo that was operating illegally killed 22 people, Russian officials said.

Initial reports described the wooden building in the city 1,900 miles east of Moscow as a nursing home, but the country’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, later said it was a “temporary residence for persons in a difficult life situation.”

The committee said a man who rented the building has been arrested and charged with violation of safety regulations resulting in multiple deaths.

Firefighters look at debris after a fire at an illegal shelter in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, Russia.
Firefighters look at debris after a fire at an illegal shelter in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, Russia.

Two-story wooden building in this city
The fire broke out before dawn in the two-story wooden building.


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firefighters try to extinguish a fire at a nursing home in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, Russia.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined by officials.

Firefighters looking thru debris.
A coal-fired boiler which was malfunctioning a day prior to the blaze could be the culprit.


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The committee’s statement did not identify him, but news reports said he was a local clergyman.

The cause of the fire that broke out before dawn has not been determined, but the investigative committee said residents told the shelter operator on the day before the fire that the building’s coal-fired boiler was malfunctioning.

Six other people were injured in the blaze that destroyed the two-story building.



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