Fire in Russian Mental-Health Clinic Kills 23 Patients

A fire engulfed a Russian mental clinic, killing 23 patients and injuring another 23.

The blaze, which began Saturday night at the clinic in the Voronezh region village of Alferovka, about 650 kilometers (400 miles) south of Moscow, was extinguished at about 3 a.m., the Emergency Ministry said on its website. President Vladimir Putin was appraised of the situation, according to the Kremlin.

The investigative committee opened a criminal probe into the deaths and sent officers to the site. There were about 70 patients and four medical staff inside the building when the fire broke out, it said. Fifty-one people were evacuated.

Building safety in Russia has come under scrutiny in recent months after several accidents. Twenty-three people were killed in July when a military barracks collapsed in Siberia. A fire at a Moscow engineering plant this month was the biggest in 25 years in the Russian capital, though no casualties were reported, the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper said.

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