Dec 9, 2006

45 Die in Fire at Moscow Hospital

A fire in a drug-treatment hospital in Moscow early Saturday killed 45 women who were trapped behind a blocked emergency exit and locked window grilles as smoke suffocated them, Russian officials said. While arson was suspected, the magnitude of the death toll appeared to result from gross safety violations and the evident failure of the hospital’s staff to make an effort to rescue its patients, the officials said. As the New York Times reports, Russia has strict building and fire codes but also a culture of bribery and corruption that allows violations to pass unpunished - and unfixed. more...

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