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Fire consumes retirement home in West Siberia, killing 10

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At least 10 people were killed and four seriously injured in a fire that swept through a retirement home in a village in Western Siberia during the night, a local rescue services official said Thursday.
NOVOSIBIRSK, June 21 (RIA Novosti) - At least 10 people were killed and four seriously injured in a fire that swept through a retirement home in a village in Western Siberia during the night, a local rescue services official said Thursday.

The fire started on the third floor of a three-story brick building in a village in the Omsk Region at 12.28 a.m. local time. There were 327 people including 311 elderly residents in the building at the time, of which at least 300 were evacuated.

"People suffocated from the inhaled smoke," the source said, adding that the victims tried to escape the blaze by breaking windows with their bare hands. Two of the injured residents are in an emergency ward at the local hospital with serious burns.

A special commission is investigating the causes of the fire. The retirement home was constructed in the 1960s, and was equipped with a modern fire safety system.

Russia's emergencies ministry reported last week that more than 88,000 fires broke out in Russia in January-May 2007, killing over 7,000 people.

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