Saturday, 20 March 2010

Moscow chief firefighter dies in business center fire

Moscow's chief firefighter has been killed in the fire that broke out at a business center in northern Moscow on Saturday, a senior emergencies ministry official said.

Colonel Yevgeny Chernyshev went missing three hours ago after he entered the building to evacuate people.

"We have just found the colonel's body," Mikhail Verzilin told reporters.

According to preliminary information, Chernyshev was killed when the building's roof collapsed.

Some 25 firefighting units and 30 fire engines were extinguishing the blaze at the former hydraulics plant built in the 1940s. The fire, which spread to 1,000 sq m, has been put out.

Some 30 people were evacuated from the building but no one was seriously injured.

Yevgeny Bobylev, the local emergencies ministry spokesman, said flammable materials had been used during the building's renovation in 2009.

"We also do not understand why the fire alarm did not work and if it ever existed," he said.

Oleg Mitvol, the prefect of Moscow's northern district the last fire inspection of the building took place in 2007 and a new check was scheduled for 2010.

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