The fire that broke out in a shopping center in the southwest Russian republic of Bashkiria on Saturday injured 15 people while two people were killed in the blaze, the republican health minister said on Sunday.
Georgy Shebayev said that two persons were in the republican burn center and the condition of one of them, a 27-year-old man, was serious.
"He received burns of the head, neck, body, upper and lower limbs, burning 34% of his skin. He also received a burn of his eye and suffered from toxic poisoning. He was admitted to the hospital in a shock condition," the minister said.
The fire occurred in the rush hour in the five-storey Europa center in the city of Ufa, the republic's capital, when the restaurants and shops were crowded. The blaze covered an area of 1,200 square meters and badly damaged the building.
A construction worker and a schoolgirl were killed in the blaze.
The cause of the blaze is yet to be established. Russian emergencies are considering three causes - a short circuit, careless handling of fire and violation of fire safety rules.
Local emergencies officials said earlier the fire was likely caused by construction work on the fourth floor.
Russia has an extremely poor fire safety record. Around 15,000 people die in fires across the country annually. In the United States, with more than twice the population, the figure is around 3,400 deaths a year.
In December 2009, a fire in the Urals city of Perm claimed the lives of over 150 people. The deadly fire, the worst in modern Russia's history, swept through the Lame Horse nightclub in Perm, 1,400 kilometers east of Moscow, when an indoor firework display malfunctioned.
UFA, January 23 (RIA Novosti)