Viktor Klimkin said that last year during the New Year celebrations 108 fires were registered in residential areas of Moscow on the night between December 31 and January 1, while the first three days of 2009 saw over 400 fires in the Russian capital.
Russia has an appalling fire-safety record. According to the country's emergency services, 15,165 people died in fires across the country in 2008, including 584 children. In the United States, with more than twice the population, the figure is around 3,400 deaths a year.
President Dmitry Medvedev ordered nationwide fire safety checks after the deadly December 5 fire in a nightclub in the west Urals city of Perm that has claimed over 150 lives, with many victims still in intensive care.