01.10.2022

Russia Detains 2 After Huge St. Petersburg Fire

The Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said that it launched a criminal probe into a death caused by negligence and added that law enforcement had detained the general director of Nevskaya Manufaktura and his deputy.

Russia on Tuesday detained two people after a huge fire gutted a historic factory in St. Petersburg, as firefighters continued putting out the blaze.

On Monday, a fire broke out over several floors of the red-brick Nevskaya Manufaktura building in Russia’s second city. The inferno killed one firefighter and left two more hospitalized with serious burns.

The fire continued burning into Tuesday over an area of 500 square meters, the emergencies ministry said, adding that nearly 40 firefighters were involved in extinguishing the blaze and clearing the debris.

Investigators cited a “number of violations” regarding fire safety and said that management “knew for a fact” that the premises could not be operated.

They estimated the total area of the blaze at some 4,000 square meters, causing a large part of the roof to collapse and even spreading to nearby trees.

Listed by the St. Petersburg city government as a cultural heritage site, the building was home to one of Russia’s largest textile companies in the 19th century.

In recent years parts of the building continued to operate manufacturing cloth, while others were rented out as office space and some areas had been abandoned.

Fires are relatively common in Russia due to dilapidated infrastructure or non-compliance with safety standards.

Firefighter Killed in Massive Blaze at Historic St. Petersburg Factory

A historic St. Petersburg factory building has caught fire and is on the brink of collapse, with at least one firefighter dead and two others gravely injured, state media reported Monday.

The six-story Nevskaya Manufaktura building, located on the right bank of the Neva River in Russia’s second city, was engulfed in flames around 12:30 p.m. local time and has since spread across all six stories.

Interfax reported that a missing rescue worker has been found dead.

RIA Novosti identified him as a firefighting unit commander and added that two others have been hospitalized with third-degree burns on up to 50% of their bodies.

The St. Petersburg-based 78.ru news site reported, citing emergency sources, that a local worker has also died in the blaze.

At least 40 people were evacuated from the building and emergency crews have been bolstered to 300 people and 70 pieces of equipment, including one Kamov Ka-32 helicopter.

RIA Novosti reported that firefighters have been evacuated from the building due to risk of collapse.

The cause of the fire remains unknown. The Investigative Committee that probes major crimes said it has launched a criminal case into causing death by negligence.

The Nevskaya Manufaktura fabrics manufacturer was founded by English merchant James Thornton in 1841, then nationalized by Soviet Russia and renamed in 1922.

St. Petersburg authorities in 2001 added the building to its list of newly identified sites of historic, scientific, artistic and other cultural value.

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