Fire Kills 37 at Russian Psychiatric Hospital as Patient Blamed

At least 37 people died in a fire at a psychiatric hospital in northwestern Russia that prosecutors said may have been started by a patient.

The blaze, in a village in the Novgorod region, started when 59 people were inside the facility, the local prosecutor’s office said in an e-mailed statement. As many as 23 people were evacuated. Witnesses said it appeared to have started on a patient’s bed, according to the statement.

The fire was extinguished at 11:30 a.m., almost nine hours after it started, and destroyed most of the building, Oleg Voronov, a spokesman at the regional Emergency Ministry, said by phone.

Inspectors in March 2012 found “numerous” violations at the hospital that burned down today, requiring an overhaul of the building, prosecutors said.

In April, 38 people died near Moscow in another fire at a psychiatric hospital.

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