MOSCOW — Hundreds of commercial and cultural sites in Russia fall below fire safety standards, authorities said Thursday following checks after a fire in Siberia killed more than 60 people in March.
Local prosecutors were ordered to check whether safety regulations were being followed in shopping malls, cultural and children’s entertainment sites across Russia after a shopping centre fire in Kemerovo left at least 64 people dead, including 41 children.
In one region alone, the eastern island of Sakhalin, 93 per cent of the 230 sites checked did not comply with fire safety instructions, the local prosecutor’s office said in a statement Thursday.
Stairs and fire exits are often congested, fire alarms and automatic water sprinklers do not work and the walls are covered with highly flammable materials, the statement said, adding that 156 lawsuits have been launched.
In Volgograd in western Russia, the Sports Palace which holds 2,500 spectators was closed due to the lack of an automatic water sprinkler system and emergency exits that are difficult to access, the Tass press agency quoted the local prosecutor’s office as saying.
Fire safety rules are often violated in Russia due to corruption as building permits are given by officials in exchange for bribes. — AFP