Kemerovo unlearnt lessons: fire at Perseus For Children shopping centre, casualties

One dead, six injured in Moscow — why the tragedy was not averted

Kemerovo unlearnt lessons: fire at Perseus For Children shopping centre, casualties Photo: tvc.ru

Another fire in a shopping centre took place in Russia on April 4. The upper floors of the children's shopping centre Persey Dlya Detey (Perseus For Children) blazed in the east of Moscow. Taught by the bitter experience of the Kemerovo tragedy, firemen arrived in a few minutes after the fire started, evacuated about 600 visitors and extinguished the fire in an hour. But victims failed to be averted: one dead, and another six injured. Realnoe Vremya interviewed experts why the bitter lessons do not help us to avert such tragedies and what needs to be changed.

Fire of higher complexity

Russia is still being deeply distressed by the tragedy in Kemerovo. Large-scale inspections of shopping centres are being held throughout the country. It would seem that the death of 64 people, 41 of whom were children, have forced many to reconsider the issues of fire safety. But another fire in a shopping centre occurred, and again with victims.

The fire occurred in the shopping centre Perseus For Children in Moscow. The first emercom brigade arrived in 4 minutes after the message. It was reported that the warehouse with soft toys on the top floor of the building blazed. The fire was given the second, higher rank of complexity. Total fire area was 80 square metres.

The head of the ministry of emergency situations of Moscow, Ilya Denisov, arrived in the place of fire in the children's shopping centre. At first, it was known only about two victims, but later their number increased, and the majority of them — rescuers themselves.

The first brigade of the ministry of emergency situations arrived in 4 minutes after the message

Rescuers didn't take care of themselves?

Shortly before the fire in Perseus, it had been checked for fire safety. The staff of the shopping centre held a training evacuation.

About 600 people were taken out of the burning building. Some believe that it is the case with Winter Cherry helped to avert a much larger number of victims, and emergency workers did not take care of themselves saving people. After all, most of those who turned out to be in hospital — firefighters themselves.

Six rescuers got heat stroke — they reached the fire too close, one of them inhaled smoke and is being in serious condition in hospital. It has become known the identity of the victim in the fire — 45-year-old Alexey Karpov:

''The victim, evacuated from the burning building, died in the ambulance,'' physicians informed.

The wife of the victim in conversation with journalists denied the information that he was an employee of the shopping centre. According to her, he worked in the next building as a loader, and during a lunch break he usually went to Perseus to have a snack: ''He could go to buy something here or to have lunch. So he has not been trained along with other employees of teh shopping centre,'' the channel 360tv.ru quoted her words.

Most likely, the man wandered to the wrong floor and could not find a way out in the smoky building, sources in the emergency services suggested.

Most of those who have turned out to be in hospital — firefighters themselves

The owner of Perseus: the fire occurred not in our centre

The administration of the shopping centre Perseus For Children on Semyonovskaya street say that the fire occurred at a factory. They say, there are no children, only workers, and they were evacuated in time.

The owner of the shopping centre stated that the fire occurred in the warehouse of finished products, not on its areas, and most of the staff did not know that the fifth floor of the building existed — there were warehouses of the plant Pryazha. According to him, in the shopping centre the training evacuation was carried out five days ago and everything was ok.

''The fire outbreak occurred not at our place. Above us there are two floors, a factory. They have a warehouse there. The outbreak took place there. Firefighters are figuring out and extinguishing the fire. We are not the owners of the premises where the fire occurred. We only rent there,'' Boris Tritenko, the manager director of the network of shopping centres Perseus For Children, the owner of GC Perseus, said to RNS.

According to Realnoe Vremya, the whole building is registered on the same owner — Moscow Wool Factory PLC, since 2012.

According to eyewitnesses, during the fire there was no siren, people were leaving the building quietly: ''I was there when there was the evacuation. With my family. The guard started to scream that everyone needed to go out. There was no siren. There was only guard running around in panic. At first, everyone thought it was a training alarm. They slowly went outside. There were few people in the shopping centre. The escalators were turned off, everyone went down to the first floor by stairs. All the doors were open, they were noticeable. Already on the street we saw that smoke was billowing from the top floors. Three minutes later there arrived firemen, ambulance, then 10 fire vehicles,'' a man said to 360tv.ru.

The administration of the shopping centre Perseus For Children on Semyonovskaya street say that the fire occurred at the factory

According to preliminary data, the cause of the fire in Perseus was a fire outbreak in the engine room of the freight elevator — there could be a short circuit. The investigation committee opened a criminal case on the fact of fire. Investigators are questioning the witnesses.

According to the official data of the ministry of emergency situations, during the investigation and fire extinguishing, 20 people were rescued from the building, about 600 people were taken to a safe zone. In 13 hours 39 minutes (in an hour after the beginning) the fire was liquidated.

''Culpable negligence and sloppiness of all managers of all levels'''

Realnoe Vremya interviewed experts why the Kemerovo incident has tought nothing, since such tragedies get repeated. Our interlocutors shared their views on how to rectify the situation.

  • Ferdinand Timurkhanov

    Ferdinand Timurkhanov Head of the Civil Protection Department of the Executive Committee of Kazan

    This is criminal negligence and carelessness of leaders of all levels. Shopping centres as objects of mass visits of people must strictly comply with all fire safety requirements. They showed how in Winter Cherry the cables were hanging. Wasn't there a person in charge of this?! We have simplified the system of responsibility of officials to such an extent so that as if no one is responsible for anything! Whta have the fire inspection, the prosecutor's office to do with it? There is an owner who is legally responsible for everything! They do not allow to check small businesses often. But you should agree that a shopping centre is not a small business! All this is designed to avoid to pay taxes. It is possible to reequip just in three years.

    Once I've been in a small building on Karl Marx street in Kazan. There were no hoses there, one fire extinguisher of 2002, and the other of 2003 and without pressure. There were no fire hoses. The alarm was not working, the entire first floor was filled with plastic. There were 84 people in the building, 43 of them were children. Think about it, everything must be changed at the root!

  • Ayrat Kadyrov

    Ayrat Kadyrov Chairman of Zelenodolsk branch of All-Russian Voluntary Fire Society (VDPO)

    Recent changes in legislation impose responsibility on the head of the organization. But, unfortunately, these chiefs may not be fully aware of all this responsibility and do not fully meet the necessary requirements laid down in various normative documents. What situation do we have as a result? For example, if a person knows that no one will come to check him, he will not do anything for it, and he has the corresponding attitude to this. The number of inspections of supervisory bodies has decreased dramatically. They are now not allowed more than once every three years to check. Therefore, they can't be always ready like it had been earlier. But this does not mean that we need to increase the number of inspections. No way. It is necessary to raise consciousness of people somehow. For example, in 2002 it was considered a draft law on compulsory fire insurance. They wanted to make the owners to go through the procedure of insurance of the buildings every year. So that insurance experts could assess the condition of the building. The draft law was sent back for revision, and eventually it vanished. In 2010, after the introduction of FZ-123, again there was an attempt — they offered a declaration of fire safety, forced organizations to submit declarations. But, again, it was all underworked, not thought through thoroughly. I have an idea: why not to make this declaration much easier and clearer so that people submitted in the same way like the tax statement once a year. They would report themselves on the things they do in their organization. This will be inspections, it is the accountability of citizens, what they do at their place. As an option.

By Vasilya Shirshova. Photo: moscow.mchs.ru