A fire at a Moscow warehouse claimed the lives of 17 Kyrgyz migrant workers Saturday, Russian emergency personnel said. The Investigative Committee said they have launched a criminal inquiry into the deaths of the workers.
“The incident happened when people were changing shifts at the printing house. It is very hard for us,” Abdygany Shakirov, a representative for the Kyrgyz community in Russia, told Reuters.
The fire broke out due to a malfunctioning lamp on the warehouse’s first floor where several flammable liquids and paper products were kept, Ilya Denisov, head of the Moscow branch of the emergency services, said, according to the Associated Press. Denisov added that the fire spread quickly to the room where the immigrants were working. Firefighters found the bodies of the 16 workers in the room and rushed four others to the hospital where one was pronounced dead.
About 500,000 Kyrgyz migrants reportedly work in Russia currently. Sloppy fire safety guidelines are blamed for such fatal accidents in Russia. In January, 12 people were killed in a fire in a Moscow clothing factory.