17 died in New Year fires across Russia

At least 17 people, including three children, died in separate fire incidents across Russia during New Year celebrations, local emergencies services said.

Nine people died in three separate fires in the Republic of Buryatia in East Siberia, the regional emergencies centre reported. A 30-year-old woman, her one-year old daughter and son, aged 3, died in a fire that broke out in the village of Tsakir Sunday afternoon. The house was completely destroyed by the fire. The rescuers pulled the severely burnt bodies of the woman and her children from the rubble, the emergencies centre said.

A woman and a man aged 56 were burned in a fire that erupted in the village of Kholtoson Sunday. Both were drunk when fire broke out, said the republic's chief fire safety inspector. Another four people, two women, a man and a three-year old child, died in a fire in Sharaldai on the night of Jan 1-2, the emergencies centre said.

In all incidents, the local fire fighting services were informed about the fire with considerable delays, said the centre. Six people, including two children, died in a fire that erupted Monday in the town of Berezniki in the Perm Territory in the Urals, the regional emergencies service reported.

"The firefighters who arrived at the scene found the bodies of a two-year girl and a man in the completely burnt-out apartment. There were also a five-year-old boy and three women in an unconscious condition in the apartment who later died in hospital," said the emergencies service said.

Two people, an 18-year-old girl and a three-year-old child died in a fire in a two-storey house in the town of Yoshkar-Ola in the Republic of Mari El in the Volga area Monday. Russia has an extremely poor fire safety record. Around 15,000 people die in fires across the country every year.

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