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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fire Kills 3 Psychiatric Patients in Rostov

Itar-TassA view of the debris and blackened walls in the two-story psychiatric hospital in Doroganovo after the fire on Friday.
Three patients died in a fire in a psychiatric hospital in the Rostov region early Friday, while a gas explosion killed five people in an apartment building in another region.

The fire broke out at around 5 a.m. Friday in the two-story hospital in the village of Doroganovo, about 65 kilometers from Rostov-on-Don, killing three patients and injuring 38 other patients and employees, emergency officials said.

Of those injured in the blaze, 13 were hospitalized with varying degrees of injuries.

Hospital workers said the fire likely had been started by a cigarette butt that had been carelessly disposed of by a patient, Interfax reported.

Prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into safety violations that had led to the deaths, the Prosecutor General's Office said on its web site.

Meanwhile, a gas explosion in a two-story apartment building in the Ryazan region killed five residents, including a 5-year-old child, said Alexei Korneyev of the regional Emergency Situations Ministry. The blast occurred at around 5:15 a.m. Friday.

The blast destroyed a section of the apartment building, located in the village of Sarai, about 240 kilometers southeast of Moscow.

Each year, about 17,000 Russians die in fires -- a per-capita rate several times higher than in Western nations.

A nursing home fire in March in the Krasnodar region claimed 63 lives. The local fire department had been disbanded, and fire crews took an hour to get to the scene.

In December, 45 women died in a fire at a Moscow drug treatment facility, where they were trapped by locked gates and barred windows. A fire at a Siberian mental hospital the next day killed nine patients.