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Probe launched against Crocus City fire safety staff – media

More people died as a result of the fire than of gunshot wounds in the March 22 terrorist attack, investigators said last week

The people responsible for fire safety at the Crocus City Hall, where a deadly terrorist attack took place in March just outside of Moscow, are being investigated for criminal negligence, law enforcement told TASS news agency on Sunday. 

The attack on the concert hall claimed more than 140 lives. Four armed gunmen stormed the busy venue on a Friday night when it was packed for a rock concert, opening fire and setting the building ablaze. At least 45 people died as a result of the fire, the head of the Russian Investigative Committee, Aleksandr Bastrykin, said last week. While bodies are still being identified and the causes of death determined, as of last week, more people died of the fire than of gunshot wounds.

The person responsible for fire safety at the Crocus City Hall, as well as the head of the fire team, will be investigated for criminal negligence, the authorities told TASS. Both have been placed under travel restrictions. Law enforcement is looking into potential violations of fire safety requirements which may have aggravated the situation after the terrorists set the concert hall on fire.

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According to some witness accounts to the media, the automated fire systems did not activate as they should have. Neither the sprinkler systems, smoke control systems, nor the emergency lighting functioned, they claimed. 

The fire spread to an area of over 13,000 square meters. Some of the materials used in the walls may have also contributed to the rapid spread of the fire, law enforcement agencies said. Crocus Group, the owners of the concert hall, have denied this, according to RIA Novosti.

Four alleged gunmen, all Tajik nationals, were arrested while fleeing in the direction of the Ukrainian border hours after the incident. Russian officials described the perpetrators as radical Islamists, but claimed they may have been used as proxies by Ukrainian intelligence services.

April 07, 2024 at 12:35PM

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