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Fire at Kazakh Drug Treatment Center Kills 37


Officials in Kazakhstan say 37 people were killed when a blaze broke out at a drug rehabilitation center early Sunday.

It took firefighters hours to extinguish the blaze that engulfed the 650-square-meter drug-abuse clinic in the southeastern city of Taldykorgan.

Emergency officials earlier put the death toll at 38. The reason for the discrepancy is unclear.

Officials say 40 patients and medical staff escaped the building. Ten of them were hospitalized, and two of them suffered severe burns.

The fire's cause was not immediately known. The Kazakh government says Prime Minister Karim Masimov ordered the creation of a commission to investigate the incident and asked his deputy, Serik Akhmetov, to lead it.

Violations of safety regulations are common in the former Soviet state, making state-run facilities prone to fires.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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