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Fire in Moscow Printing Plant Kills 17 Migrant Workers

  • VOA News

Colleagues and relatives of dead workers from Kyrgyzstan react as they gather next to the burnt building of a printing plant's warehouse in Moscow, Russia, Aug. 27, 2016.

Colleagues and relatives of dead workers from Kyrgyzstan react as they gather next to the burnt building of a printing plant's warehouse in Moscow, Russia, Aug. 27, 2016.

A fire in a Moscow printing plant killed 17 migrant workers from Kyrgyzstan Saturday, Russian authorities said.

A representative of the Kyrgyz community in Russia, Abdygani Shakirov, said all of the dead were young women trapped in a dressing room while changing into their work clothes. He said that a 16-year-old girl was thought to be among the dead.

Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Ministry confirmed that 14 of the dead were Kyrgyz citizens.

Speaking to Russian media, the head of Moscow branch of the emergency services, Ilya Denisov, confirmed that the victims were all from Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia, and were believed to be working legally in Russia.

He said that the fire was caused by a malfunctioning lamp on the first floor of the warehouse, where many flammable liquids and paper products were stored, and that it spread quickly through an elevator shaft to the dressing room.

Denisov said firefighters found the bodies of 16 workers and sent four injured to the hospital, where one later died.

Russian authorities launched a criminal investigation to determine whether the blaze erupted due to arson or negligence.

Lax fire safety standards have often been blamed for fatal workplace blazes in Russia. In January, 12 people died in a fire in a Moscow clothing factory.

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