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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2007, 11:09 GMT
Russian elderly die in home fire
Gutted interior of old people's home in Kamyshevatskaya
Officials say most of the victims did not have close relatives
At least 63 people have been killed by fire which swept through an old people's home in southern Russia, the country's emergencies ministry says.

The fire broke out at a home in the village of Kamyshevatskaya, in the Krasnodar region, near the Black Sea.

It started early on Tuesday morning, an official said, but firefighting crews did not arrive from Yeysk, 50km (30 miles) away, for more than an hour.

There had been 93 people in the building, officials say.

Survivors were taken to a local hospital.

Russian media report that the management of the care home had been fined in December for safety shortcomings.

Blaze damage (Russian TV picture)
The dormitory block of the home was completely burned out, the Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported.

The cause of the fire has not yet been given by local officials.

Many of the victims died of smoke inhalation and only a few had serious burns, the Russian website Newsru.com reports.

The Interfax news agency quoted Krasnodar regional prosecutor Leonid Korzhenyuk as saying criminal proceedings had been instituted.

It was the second major disaster in Russia in less than 24 hours.

On Monday morning, a methane gas explosion at a Siberian coal mine killed more than 90 people.

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