Georgian gov’t saddened by deadly fire in Russia

People gathered in Kemerovo, angry at state officials for lack of oversight. Photo by AFP., 27 Mar 2018 - 16:20, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian top officials have offered their condolences to the Russian people for a fire claiming the lives of 64 people, of which 41 were children.

I would like to express my sorrow over the death of dozens of people, unfortunately including children, at a shopping mall fire in Kemerovo, Russia. I offer my sincere condolences and sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims, and the Russian people,” Georgian PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili wrote on his Twitter account.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili also released a statement over the tragedy.

Interfax news agency reports that 85 people are still missing, most of them children.

Some 300 people rallied outside the local government headquarters on Tuesday, demanding that officials be sacked over the fire safety shortcomings, the BBC wrote.

The shopping centre covering 23,000 sq m opened in 2013. It includes a petting zoo.

Sunday's blaze started on an upper floor of the complex at about 17:00 local time.

President Vladimir Putin named criminal negligence and carelessness among the causes of the fire.

A short circuit was one of the main reasons behind the shopping mall fire, the Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin told Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

The automatic fire alarm system in the shopping mall which was the site of a deadly fire in Siberia hadn't worked since March 19. Staff at the mall not only neglected to repair it, but also failed to turn the system on manually,” Bastrykin said.

He also announced that a security guard at the shopping center did not switch the warning system on after the start of the fire, despite the fact that it could have been switched on manually.