Moscow Suburb Pipe Rupture Cuts Heat to 12,000 Amid Cold Snap

A water pipe feeding a Moscow suburb burst, leaving 12,000 people without heat amid one of the coldest months on record.

The pipe supplied heat to 26 nine-story apartment buildings in Podolsk, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) south of Moscow, Emergency Ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov said in a telephone interview in Moscow today.

Most of the people living in the buildings are at work today, Beltsov said. Children, pensioners and others who are not working may be evacuated to government buildings until the damage is repaired, probably tonight, he said.

A Siberian cold front blew west a week ago, sending temperatures in the Moscow region, which surrounds the Russian capital, to as low as minus 37 degrees Celsius (minus 35 Fahrenheit), the coldest in half a century. At least 20 people in Moscow proper have died from hypothermia in the last week, according to city health officials, Interfax reported.

Some 50 houses in Dolgoprudny, Moscow region, lost power after a boiler broke last night, state-run Rossiya television reported. Heat has been restored to 770 people in 43 buildings in the town of Tomilino, southeast of Moscow, after an accident last week, although many are using electric heaters until their apartments warm, Rossiya said.

The temperature in Moscow, a city of more than 10 million people, rose to minus 23 Celsius today and may rise to minus 15 by Jan. 25, according to the Russian Meteorological Bureau. The average temperature in Moscow in January, the coldest month of the year, is minus 10 degrees Celsius, according to City Hall data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Torrey Clark in Moscow at tclark8@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tim Coulter at tcoulter@bloomberg.net.

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