Deadly shopping mall fires around the world

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An aerial view of the multistory shopping complex after the fire in the Siberian city of Kemerovo.

At least 37 people were killed and many were unaccounted for on Sunday after a fire tore through a shopping mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo. One official said earlier in the day that 41 children between the ages of 2 and 17 were either dead or missing.

Emergency services minister Vladimir Puchkov said on Russian television: "We have recorded that unfortunately as a result of the accident 64 people died".

The Ekho Mosvky radio station quoted witnesses who said the fire alarm did not go off and that the staff in the mall in Kemerovo did not organize the evacuation.

The preliminary findings of the inquiry said the fire started around 1100 GMT in one of the cinema halls and destroyed more than 1,000 square metres of the centre, news agencies reported.

It said a criminal probe has been opened and that five people were arrested including an official of the mall's security firm who is suspected of deactivating the public address system when the fire broke out. Numerous victims were children as the mall's shops, cinema and bowling alley were packed due to school holidays.

Firefighters said up to 11 people are believed to be missing.

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Minister for health Veronika Skortsova said from the scene that 13 people were in hospital, including an 11-year-old boy in a serious condition.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

The local office of Russia's emergency services ministry said the fire broke out on the third and top floor of the mall, where firefighters were struggling on Monday to clear the rubble.

"We didn't hear the fire alarm, they even didn't turn on the light during the show", she said. He described thick clouds of smoke and limited visibility as temperatures within the mall reached 700 degrees Celsius (1,292 degrees Fahrenheit), the RBC news outlet reported.

Chernov said that the working theory behind the fire is that a child may have lit a foam ball in the play area with a cigarette lighter.

A petting zoo was among the centre's attractions.

"No one knows exactly how many people there were inside when the fire broke out".

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