'Lax oversight' blamed for blaze

2009-12-06 17:23


Perm - Victims of a Russian nightclub blaze that killed 112 people were buried on Sunday, with angry mourners claiming lax oversight by authorities led to one of the country's worst recent tragedies.

About 100 people, most in their early 20s, stood grim and silent in the city's snow-covered cemetery for the funeral of one of the nightclub's barmen, 26-year-old Timur Parfiryev. The funeral was one of three on Sunday.

"Timur pulled friends out of the fire and died after he ran into the flames again," a man who gave his name only as Andrei said, adding Parfiryev's widow was pregnant with their first child.

"They found him when they were searching the ruins," he said, blaming the "corrupt authorities" for poor fire safety enforcement at the club.

The death toll in the blaze rose to 112 on Sunday after a woman died in hospital, a Perm regional emergency services spokeswoman told AFP.

Flames sparked by fireworks quickly caught on the wood and straw decor at the Lame Horse nightclub early on Saturday, witnesses said, causing panic as some 230 club-goers stampeded as they rushed to flee, choking on smoke.

No brains

In the wake of the tragedy, authorities accused club managers of ignoring repeated orders to comply with safety standards, with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev condemning them as without "brains nor conscience".

The owner and manager of the Perm nightclub have been arrested, as were three other workers.

Russia's emergency services chief Sergei Shoigu called on Sunday for a ban on the use of fireworks at public gatherings and ordered fire safety checks redoubled ahead of the New Year celebrations.

"We should categorically ban the use of pyrotechnics in places where mass events are being held," Shoigu said, quoted by Russian news agencies.

Angry residents lit candles and laid carnations outside the charred ruins of the nightclub in Perm, a city of around a million people some 1 200km east of Moscow.

One survivor, Nadezhda Safina, described how fast the fire had ignited and spread, saying she only managed to escape because she had sat near an exit.

"A spark from the fireworks set fire to the ceiling and it started to smoulder... the plastic started melting and dripping on people," she told AFP. "It was full of thick, brown smoke. It was frightening, people were crawling".

Teary-eyed, she said she had no doubt about who was to blame: "This was negligence. Nothing blew up, it wasn't a terrorist act."


Another resident, who gave her name only as Nadezhda, also accused organisers of "stupidity and indifference".

"The people who organise parties should create safe conditions. This was terrible. Something like this should have never happened," she said.

Less than an hour after the start of the blaze, firemen were piling bodies outside and hysterical club-goers searched among the rows for their friends, said witnesses, blogging on the popular Russian internet site Livejournal.

"When I got out of the nightclub, rescue workers were already carrying out bodies. The panic was horrendous. For the 300 guests, there was only one narrow door," posted one woman blogger, who said she had worked at the club.

Another Livejournal user, Yakimovmihail, said he joined in the rescue efforts after walking by the site of the fire.

"I saw a man in rags, with no hair or eyelashes," he wrote. "But the awful part started five minutes or so later when the fire fighters arrived. That's when they began to drag the bodies out."

The weekend tragedy highlighted lax enforcement of fire safety laws in Russia, where the death rate from fires is several times higher than in the West.


Read more on:    russia  |  russian nightclub fire

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


Shilowa supports Vote No campaign

Former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa has come out in support of the Vote No! Campaign launched recently by former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils and former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, says a report.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2395.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.