Kiev: Over a dozen people have died in a fire at a residential building that was being used temporarily for housing elderly people in a village near the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.
The country’s state emergency service said the fire, which killed 17 people, broke out during the early hours of Sunday at the privately-owned two-story building in Litochky, located about 37 km (23 miles) northeast 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 Chechetkin, said in comments released by his office.
Authorities said emergency services units saved 18 people, five of whom have been hospitalized with burns of varying degrees of severity. The cause of the fire is still unclear. The government said President Petro Poroshenko has been notified of the blaze, adding that Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman had tasked officials with creating a special commission to look into the fire.
Each year, scores of people die in house fires in post-Soviet countries like Ukraine and Russia where outdated infrastructure is still in widespread use and managers often take a lax approach to fire safety. Such fires often claim the lives of some of the most vulnerable people such as the elderly or those with mental illness.