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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Omsk Nursing Home Fire Kills 10

Itar-TassEmergency response workers carrying bodies out of a nursing home Thursday in the village of Yekaterininskoye.
A blaze swept through a nursing home in the Omsk region Thursday, killing at least 10 people, after a nurse failed to hear the fire alarm.

Rescuers safely evacuated more than 300 patients from the nursing home in the village of Yekaterininskoye after the fire erupted early Thursday morning, but 10 patients died in the blaze, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov said.

Four people were hospitalized with burns and other injuries, the Omsk regional administration said in a statement.

Beltsov said the hospital fire alarm system functioned properly, but a nurse on duty was away at the moment it went off and failed to immediately alert patients and call firefighters.

"The delay resulted in fatalities," Beltsov said.

He said the fire began on the top floor of the three-story nursing home and had apparently been caused by the violation of fire safety rules by patients, many of whom were drunk after a party the previous night.

Alexander Glazunov, a regional emergency official, suggested in televised comments that the fire may have started in a common area where people were watching television and smoking the night before.

There are nearly 18,000 fire deaths annually across the country, several times the per capita rate in the United States and other Western countries.

Deadly blazes at schools, hospitals and other state-run facilities in recent years have revealed official negligence and rampant violations of fire safety rules. A fire in a nursing home in the Azov Sea coast village of Kamyshevatskaya killed 62 people in March. A night watchman ignored two fire alarms before reporting the blaze.

In Kamyshevatskaya, it took firefighters almost an hour to get to the site from a larger town, but on Thursday firefighters arrived at the nursing home just five minutes after receiving word of the fire, Beltsov said.

He said the nursing home had been checked twice recently by inspectors who found safety norms were duly observed.

There were no violations, such as locked safety exits or barred windows, Beltsov said.

The regional authorities had spent over 20 million rubles ($770,000) over the last two years to renovate the nursing home building, which was considered one of the best in the region, the regional administration said in a statement.