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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO . . .:The Fire in Samara?

Remember the fire that raged at the Samara police headquarters last February? The Moscow Times covered the tragedy, which claimed 57 lives. Back then experts could not decide whether the inferno was caused by foul play or a short circuit. We called to check up on the status of the investigation.

Nine months later investigators have still not figured out what caused the blaze. They have ruled out arson, but have not settled on anything more concrete than a "slow-burning fire," says Leonid Konovalov at the Prosecutor General's Office. This term is so vague that it could refer, for example, to a carelessly discarded cigarette.

But life goes on at the new Samara police headquarters. After the building was leveled the agency moved into a newer building that once belonged to the Samara-Avtotrans company. The site of the old building will be turned into a memorial to those who died.

With the financial aid the police received after the fire - 170 million rubles ($6.8 million) from the federal government and 50 million rubles from private citizens and businesses - they have been able to buy a new telecommunications system, computers and other equipment that was beyond their means before the blaze.

Indeed, it took a tragedy for the Samara police station to win kudos from Sergei Stepashin. While he was still prime minister, Stepashin visited the new headquarters and called it "the best in Russia."

- Larisa Naumenko

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