KIEV, May 19 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian investigators have discovered traces of chloroform in garbage and ashes removed from the House of Trade Unions in Odessa, the site of a fire where dozens of activists died on May 2, acting Ukrainian Deputy Interior Minister Vitaliy Sakal said Monday.
“There is an expert conclusion that in the garbage and ashes, where there were already around 30 investigations held on the premises; a like substance of chloroform was discovered. It is used during surgeries, but how it ended up in the Professional Union Building is currently being investigated,” Sakal said during a press conference.
He said that inhaling large amounts of the substance leads to respiratory arrest, which is what happened during the fire, in which 32 people died from an unknown substance, not extreme temperatures.
Clashes in Odessa broke out on May 2, between pro-federalization activists on one side and fans of the Odessa and Kharkiv football teams on the other, joined by Euromaidan activists.
Pro-Kiev radicals joined by Right Sector militia blocked the anti-government protesters in the House of Trade Unions and set the building on fire by hurling Molotov cocktails inside. Those trapped inside had little chance of extinguishing the blaze, as fire hoses in the building were out of order.
Six died of bullet wounds, 32 suffocated, and 10 fell to their death by jumping through the windows of the burning building. Another 214 were injured. According to some information, another 48 are reported to be missing.
No plausible explanation has been offered for the fact that many of those who died did not try to take refuge on upper floors or the roof, prompting rumors that they were poisoned by an unknown chemical.