13 Sep 2013

Patients missing after Russian hospital burns

9:33 pm on 13 September 2013

A fire has raged through a psychiatric hospital in in the village of Luka in northwestern Russia, leaving 37 people missing.

An Emergency Situations Ministry official said on Ekho Moskvy Radio that some of the missing may have escaped the hospital in the Novgorod region and survived, Reuters reports.

But Itar-Tass news agency cited a regional official as saying at least 14 people were killed.

Investigators say the pre-dawn blaze may have been caused by a patient setting a bed on fire, Reuters said, quoting the Interfax news agency.

The fire destroyed a building housing male patients at the hospital, state-run RIA reported. Voronov said there were about 60 people in the building, most of them patients, when it broke out.

It was the second deadly fire at a Russian psychiatric hospital this year. In April, a fire at a facility outside Moscow killed 38 people and prompted criticism of the state over care of mentally ill patients.