According to authorities, a fire that started in a popular nightclub in the Russian city of Kostroma resulted in at least 13 fatalities.
A city of over 270,000 people, Kostroma is located 300 kilometers (190 miles) northeast of Moscow on the banks of the Volga River.
Early in the morning, a fire broke out at Polygon, a multipurpose entertainment area that served as a bar, nightclub, and cafe. Rescuers said that 250 individuals were taken out of the building.
State media cited investigators as saying the fire started after a man fired a flare gun indoors, setting the ceiling alight. Police have now detained a man in connection with the incident, the interior ministry said.
“After firing a flare, decorative elements on the ceiling caught fire and the fire began to spread instantly. Very quickly the room began to fill with acrid smoke and the evacuation exits were difficult to see. There was pushing and panic,” TASS news agency reported, citing a source.
Most of those killed in the fire had been found in the smoking room, utility room and near the toilets, TASS reported, citing emergency services.
Video shared by investigators showed firefighters spraying water on what appeared to be the smouldering, collapsed roof of the building. According to rescuers, the fire covered an area of 3,500 square metres.
The location has not recently undergone a fire safety inspection, according to Russia’s emergency ministry, because it is considered a minor business.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been at least five further restaurant fires, two of which have been fatal.
A fire that started at the Lame Horse nightclub in the city of Perm in 2009 resulted in 156 deaths, prompting calls for stricter fire safety regulations in a nation where fatal fires frequently occur.