Fire at Russian hospital kills 21 people

December 13, 2015, 7:47am

AP on News24. photo: News24

Moscow - A fire at a psychiatric hospital in southern Russia killed 21 people, the country's emergencies ministry said on Sunday.

"Nineteen bodies were found at the site of the fire, two other people succumbed to their wounds at the hospital," a ministry spokesperson told AFP.

The hospital building, made of wood, was destroyed by the fire, the spokesperson said. A further 20 people were injured.

The fire broke out at the hospital in the village of Alferovka, which lies in the region of Voronezh in the south of the country.

It was not immediately clear what triggered the blaze.

The fire was the latest tragedy to hit a psychiatric institution in Russia, where outdated Soviet-era infrastructure is still in widespread use and managers often take a lax approach to fire safety.

Scores of people also die in house fires each year.

A fire at a psychiatric hospital in northwest Russia in September 2013 left 37 people dead while another blaze in April of the same year killed 38.

In 2009, 156 people were killed in a nightclub fire in the city of Perm, 1 200 kilometres east of Moscow in one of the deadliest accidents in Russia's modern history.