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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Scavengers Descend on Remains of Building




Once they were somebody's life -- family photo albums, medical records, a kindergarten graduation certificate with a picture of a smiling little girl - and now they are lying together with bricks and fragments of furniture in a giant dump being picked over by scavengers.


The dump is all that is left of the apartment building at 6 Kashirskoye Shosse, which was leveled by a bomb Monday. To the horror of those living in the area, it is located just a kilometer down the road from the site of the tragedy.


The site is unguarded and since Monday has been picked over by people looking for everything from money to spare parts for household appliances.


"This is a disaster. They started to unload trucks with the remains of the building as early as Monday afternoon. We are terrified. Some of the bricks were simply covered with blood," said Yelena Bulyakova, who lives at 16 Kashirskoye Shosse. The windows of her apartment face the newly created dump site.


"Yesterday, I saw people carrying two fold-out couches, two bags and a rucksack from this place. My kids can't sleep at night," Bulyakova said.


Oleg Dvoretsky, who also lives in the building facing the dump, said that during the first couple of days after the explosion, large numbers of people came to look through the wreckage.


"They said that there was money and jewelry to be found. I tried to ask these people whether they cared that all of it belonged to dead people and the search was more like opening graves," he said. "No one took notice."


Dvoretsky and others who live near the dump also worry that it could be harmful to their health.


"Even if there are no human remains, there was food from people's refrigerators and their clothes. When it all starts to rot, it's going to be simply dangerous. I have already seen stray dogs checking the dump and there are plenty of rats in the area," Dvoretsky said.


According to Dvoretsky, he tried to get some explanation from local authorities, but all he was told was that the dump would be moved at some point.


The dump is located on an empty lot that is slated to become part of a new road. Locals are worried that the dump will just be covered by the new street.


"Are they really going to build this road on bones?" Dvoretsky said.


However, according to Ivan Kuznetsov, a slightly tipsy road-builder, the construction of a road over the dump was unlikely, if not for ethical reasons than for technical ones."There are underground communication facilities here, as well as gas pipes. If the dump is just leveled and pressed to fit under the road, they will be damaged," Kuznetsov said.


Meanwhile, across the street in the headquarters for those coordinating efforts to help the survivors of the blast, human nature has shown its better side. Many people have brought clothes, food, household items and money.


"We have people coming from all parts of Moscow," said Olga Gruzdeva, a social-services worker in the southern district. "Some people would come to find a survivor and just help directly by giving money and other things. Some would bring clothes to us."


In fact, more things have been donated than are needed for the roughly 30 people living in the building who escaped death. At least 118 people died in the blast.


Gruzdeva said the rest of the donated things will be distributed to poor people in the area.


Mikhail Kuznetsov, one of the few lucky people who was not at home at the time of the explosion, said he was grateful and amazed by how much help he got from people.


"We are choosing a new apartment now. You can see that I'm properly dressed. And also some firm that asked not to be named helped me with a fair amount of money," Kuznetsov said.


Kuznetsov, his wife and their two children all survived because they decided not to come back from their dacha last Sunday night.