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The fatal fire at Moscow drug clinic # 17 which claimed 46 lives, was caused by arson
The fatal fire at Moscow drug clinic # 17 which claimed 46 lives, was caused by arson, a firefighting service official said Friday. "I'm 99 percent certain it was an arson," head of the state fire control department under the Emergency Situations Ministry Yuri Nenashev told reporters. "Our investigators detected traces of the White Spirit solvent on the back of the closet from where the blaze started. By now, prosecutors have taken over the investigation," Nenashev said. He noted that the large number of fatalities could have been avoided had it not been for the incompetent actions by medical personnel, and if the hospital administrations had carried out the instructions, recommended by the state fire control department. Most women were poisoned with toxic fumes from burning plastic finishing inside the building. As of the moment of fire, just two medics were on the floor. Two were asleep and died in the fire, and another two were out at the time, so they were unable to open doors and metal grates on time. Arson is the priority version considered by the investigators. Earlier, Moscow prosecutor Yuri Syomin said the investigators should piece together clues to recreate the whole picture of the incident, and establish the arsonist's motives. Unofficial reports said one of the patients, who was in conflict with hospital staff, set a room on fire. The hospital provides treatment for people suffering from addiction to drugs and alcohol. Moscow prosecutors opened a criminal case on two counts /deliberate destruction or damage to property, and violation of fire safety rules resulting in the death of two or more persons through carelessness/. Nenashev blamed the hospital for having no warning system and the obsolete fire alarm system. "The instructions included replacement of thermal detection for smoke alarm, but it hasn't been done," he said. The December 9 fire killed 46 persons, including two medics.
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