Psychiatric Hospital Fires Continue to Plague Russia

KRASNODAR (Southern Russia), May 9 (RIA Novosti) – One patient died and another was injured in a fire that broke out early on Thursday at a psychiatric hospital in southern Russia’s Krasnodar Territory, the Emergencies Ministry said.

This was the third deadly fire at mental institutions in Russia in two weeks despite efforts by authorities to bolster fire safety at hospitals specializing in the treatment of serious mental disorders.

“According to preliminary information, the fire started while one of the patients was smoking in bed in violation of fire safety rules,” spokesperson Tatyana Kobzarenko said.

Kobzarenko said that other 45 patients were timely evacuated from the building by the personnel of the hospital.

Fire alarms at the building worked properly, she added.

Unauthorized smoking in bed during nighttime was cited by investigators as the most likely cause of the previous two fires at psychiatric hospitals that killed a total of 39 people.

An early morning blaze in the town of Ramensky north of Moscow on April 2 killed 38, including two nurses. Only three people survived the fire.

A fire at a psychiatric hospital in central Russia’s Tambov region on May 1 killed a female patient while 55 people were evacuated.

The deadly fire in the Ramensky clinic prompted President Vladimir Putin to call for a closer look at fire safety in hospitals across the country.

Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova pledged that her ministry would conduct an inspection of all psychiatric institutions by June 1, 2013.


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