53 dead, scores missing in Siberia shopping mall fire

Updated 2018-03-26 15:47:04

Members of the emergency ministry fire service try to put out the fire at the Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping mall in Kemerovo, Russia, on March 25, 2018. (Xinhua/Sputnik)

The death toll from Sunday's shopping mall inferno in Siberia has risen to 53, according to Russia's Investigative committee.

"Five more bodies have been recovered from the movie theater. The overall death toll now stands at 53 people," Tass news agency reported citing a crisis center representative.

An earlier report said the death toll was 48 including at least 11 children.

The news agency said 11 people are still thought to be missing after the deadly blaze.

Identification of victims is still underway, and search and rescue operation is ongoing.

At least 48 others were injured in the blaze and 12 remain in hospital, according to the Russian broadcaster.

The fire broke out on an upper floor of the Zimnyaya Vishnya, also known as "Winter Cherry" complex, which boasts cinemas, shops and restaurants in Russia's Kemerovo city in western Siberia at around 17:00 local time (1000 GMT).

"According to preliminary information, the roof collapsed in two cinemas," investigators said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear how many people were inside the complex when the fire broke out, but earlier reports said 20 people were rescued from the building and a total of 100 evacuated.

The fire has been brought under control over 17 hours after the breakout but as many as 660 firefighters and rescue personnel are still working on the scene to locate the missing.

The cause was not immediately clear, but some media reports suggest that the source started at the children's playground after a trampoline caught on fire when a child misused a lighter. The other reports suggest that an electrical wiring short-circuit led to the fire, but neither of them has been officially confirmed at this stage.

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