Global General

Fire in Russian nightclub kills at least 101

Updated: 2009-12-05 08:20

PERM, Russia - At least 101 people were killed and 140 injured on Friday when hundreds of people stampeded out of a packed Russian nightclub after fireworks sparked a blaze, the Emergencies Ministry said.

Fire in Russian nightclub kills at least 101
Image from a video grab shows paramedics carrying a stretcher with an injured person towards an ambulance in Perm December 5, 2009. At least 94 people were killed and 139 injured on Friday when a blast caused by fireworks ripped through a packed nightclub in Perm, causing a stampede, the Emergencies Ministry said. [Agencies] 

Clubbers rushed for the doors of the Lame Horse nightclub in the centre of Perm, a city of 1.2 million near the Ural mountains, after a firework show went disastrously wrong at about 11:15 p.m. (2015 GMT).

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"The number of dead is 101 people, 140 people are receiving medical help ... 85 are seriously injured," Interfax quoted a local health official as saying.

A Reuters witness said dozens of charred bodies were piled on the pavement outside the club as medics moved the injured into ambulances. Blood-covered women in evening clothes lay on stretchers as scores of policemen swarmed around.

The fire follows a train bombing last Friday which killed 26 and injured more than 100 on a train travelling between Moscow and St Petersburg, for which Chechen Islamist militants claimed responsibility.

That blast stoked fears that Russia could face a nationwide bombing campaign, but Russian officials played down any links between the train attack and Friday's nightclub disaster.

"We are not talking about a terrorist attack," Oleg Chirkunov, the governor of Perm region, 1,150 km (720 miles) east of Moscow, told Vesti-24.

Detectives said they did not suspect a bomb attack.

"A firework blast sparked a blaze," a spokeswoman for the Emergencies Ministry said, but declined to give further details.

Witnesses quoted by local media said a stray firework sparked a fire during a stage show at the 500 square metre (5400 square ft) club, prompting panic as hundreds of clubbers rushed for the exits.

"I've just spoken to a friend who was there," said a posting on popular forum, which serves the Perm region.

"He says there was no blast, everything flared up from the fireworks. Many people were cut off from the exit and suffocated as a result," the posting said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the formation of a government commission to deal with the incident.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sent Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu, Health Minister Tatyana Golikova and Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev to the scene to coordinate rescue efforts.