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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mourners Remember Fire Victims

ReutersA priest blessing the coffins of people who perished in Tuesday's retirement home fire in the Krasnodar region.
ROSTOV-ON-DON -- Churches held mourning services Wednesday and people placed flowers outside the smoke-blackened walls of a nursing home in southern Russia where a fire killed 63 people.

A survivor of the blaze died of a heart attack overnight, authorities said. The 66-year-old woman was one of 30 people hospitalized after the fire early Tuesday in the two-story facility in Kamyshevatskaya, a town of 5,000 in the Krasnodar region on the Azov Sea, regional emergency officials said.

State-run television showed freshly dug graves in a cemetery for some of the 26 victims who officials said had no relatives and were being buried by the government.

As authorities and relatives tried to identify the victims, nine of those who died were buried in Kamyshevatskaya at a ceremony attended by about 250 people, local administration chief Vitaly Vorobyov said. One man's family attended the ceremony, but the other victims had no known surviving relatives.

The country's fire death rate is high and the country has suffered a number of deadly blazes at schools, dormitories, hospitals and other state-run facilities that have uncovered rampant violations of fire safety rules and official negligence.

It took nearly one hour for firefighters from Yeisk to reach Kamyshevatskaya, whose volunteer fire department was shut down last year, and emergency officials said a fire alarm system had not been fully installed and that actions by nursing home personnel had probably contributed to the high death toll.

On Wednesday, deputies in the State Duma called for an effective probe into the fire as well as into the deadly blast in a Siberian mine, which killed 107 ­people Monday.

Itar-Tass reported that the Communists suggested inviting Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov to appear before the Duma at an upcoming session to face questions about the frequent deadly accidents.

"The question of our citizens' safety is a political question," Communist Deputy ­Anatoly Lokot said, Itar-Tass reported.

The disasters were unlikely to have major political repercussions, however. While many Russians often lay part of the blame for deadly accidents and terror attacks on the ­authorities, dismissals are usually limited to local or low-level officials, and Putin has retained his popularity ­despite the persistent problems.