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Blaze hits residential home for the elderly in Ukraine | Ukraine News

DEVELOPING STORY

‘Careless handling of electric heating devices’ termed the preliminary cause of the tragedy by authorities.

At least 15 people have been killed and 11 injured after a blaze tore through a residential home for the elderly in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

The fire broke out on Thursday afternoon in the two-storey building and spread to cover about 100 square metres.

The emergency service published a photo of the building with bars on the windows of the first floor.

Smoke could be seen coming from the broken windows of the second floor.

“According to preliminary information, 33 people were in the building at the time of the fire and 15 of them died,” according to a service’s statement.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered his condolences on Facebook and said an investigation must take place to prevent a similar tragedy from taking place again.

He urged the interior minister to open and take charge of an inquiry into the incident.

The Ukrainian prosecutor general said authorities had launched a criminal investigation and the preliminary cause of the tragedy was the “careless handling of electric heating devices”.

A rescuer works at the scene of the accident following a fire in nursing home in Kharkiv, Ukraine [State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via Reuters]

Some 50 fire fighters were deployed to the scene.

The cause of the fire has not been determined.

Fires are common in the former Soviet country, often because health and safety regulations are not adhered to.

Local authorities said the residential home may not have had the proper permits to operate.



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