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Deadly fire rips through Ukrainian home for elderly

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Ukrainian rescuers working at the scene following the fire in Litochky village about 60km from Kiev…yesterday PHOTO: SERGET DOLZHENKO/EPA

Ukrainian rescuers working at the scene following the fire in Litochky village about 60km from Kiev…yesterday<br />PHOTO: SERGET DOLZHENKO/EPA

About 17 people died when a makeshift home for elderly people outside the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, caught fire in the early hours of yesterday, the latest tragedy to shake the conflict-riven country.

The fire tore through the two-storey shelter for the elderly, which is in the village of Litochky, located some 50km north of Kiev.

“The bodies of 17 people have been found at the site of the fire,” the head of Ukraine’s state emergencies service, Mykola Chechotkin, said in comments released by his office yesterday.

“The fire broke out at a privately-owned house,” he told reporters, saying the shelter for the elderly had been set up in violation of existing legislation.

Citing preliminary information, the service said that 35 people were at the home when the fire broke out.

Eighteen people have been rescued and five of them have been admitted to hospital, said the service, adding that the blaze had been extinguished by yesterday morning.

The emergency services said in a statement that more than 150 people worked to rescue the residents and put out the fire, which began shortly before 4 am local time.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blaze, but according to one version, it might have been sparked by an exploding TV set.

National television channels, reporting from the scene, said that the street where the shelter was located was now cordoned off by the police.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has been notified of the blaze, the government said in a statement, adding that Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman had tasked officials with creating a special commission to look into the incident.

Groysman expressed condolences to the families of those who had perished in the “terrible tragedy,” the government said in a statement.

First deputy head of national police, Vadym Troyan, said in televised remarks that a man who had organised the temporary shelter had already been detained.



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