Up to 37 killed in fire at Russian psychiatric institution

Up to 37 people died when a fire gutted a psychiatric institution Friday morning outside the central Russian city of Veliky Novgorod, according to officials, RIA Novosti reports.

A criminal case has been opened into the reasons for the fire and searches and document seizures were already underway Friday, according to a statement on Russia’s Investigative Committee’s website.

“According to preliminary information, the cause of the fire was carelessness on the part of one of the patients,” the local branch of the Investigative Committee said. Those who died in the fire included a 46-year-old female orderly who had saved some people, the committee added.

The fire occurred in the village of Luka at the Oksochi psychoneurological institution – a type of facility common across Russia where elderly people unable to look after themselves, the mentally ill and the chronically institutionalized are kept, usually until they die.

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