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    The death toll of Friday's cafe fire in the Urals city of Perm has risen to 98 as four people died in hospital, the regional emergencies ministry department said on Saturday.

    MOSCOW, December 5 (RIA Novosti) - The death toll of Friday's cafe fire in the Urals city of Perm has risen to 98 as four people died in hospital, the regional emergencies ministry department said on Saturday.

    "Four of the injured died in hospital," a spokesman for the regional emergencies service said, adding that more than a half of the 135 injured are in serious condition due to inhalation burns.

    Bomb experts of the local Federal Security Service (FSB) department found no traces of explosive devices.

    Eyewitnesses say the fire was started by a so-called "cold" firework, designed for indoor use.

    "A cold firework was used during the party. The ignition point was near the stage. A strong blaze began, and heavy smoke followed almost immediately. Those, who managed to escape, ran away," an eyewitness told RIA Novosti.

    He added that many people were able to escape through the staff entrance.

    "There could be many more deaths if not the staff entrance. Most of the deaths were due to stampede and carbon monoxide," he said.

    Another eyewitness, a woman, recalled a "terrifying smell."

    "There was a terrifying smell. I will remember it for my whole life. All the windows were broken, people carried young girls in their arms, all in burns," an eyewitness, who was inside the building when the fire started, told RIA Novosti.

    A resident of the nearby house, who assisted in rescue efforts, said most victims died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

    "There was smoke. People were running out. There were few people with burns, the majority of them simply choked," the eyewitness, identified as Mikhail, said.

    "Ambulances arrived some 20 minutes after... We prepared platforms to lay down the injured, we made them of wicker panels that decorated the walls. Some people were still breathing," he went on.

     

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