UPDATE: The death toll from a fire at Kemerovo’s Winter Cherry shopping mall in Russia on Sunday now stands at 64 — including many children. Some of the dead bodies were found inside a movie theater. Investigators say exits were blocked. Authorities are searching for a security guard they say turned off the public announcement system when he received a call about the fire.
March 25, 2018 A shopping mall fire in Kemerovo, Russia Sunday killed at least thirty seven people. Dozens of people are unaccounted for—including forty children.
The Associated Press reports that according to the Russia State News Agency, sixty nine people are missing — including several children. Emergency personnel evacuated over one hundred people.
The fire started on the fourth floor of the Zimnyaya Vishnya aka Winter Cherry Shopping Mall which houses an entertainment complex including a movie theater. Deputy governor of the Kemerovo region, Vladimir Chernov, said 13 bodies were found in the halls of the theater.
Video footage posted to social media shows people jumping from windows to escape the flames.
In addition to the movie theater, the shopping mall, which opened in 2013, contains a petting zoo and bowling alley.
The Siberian town of Kemerovo, a is located about two thousand miles east of Moscow.
Investigators are searching for the cause of the deadly fire.
Worldwide, shopping mall safety is a growing concern for mall management. Poorly trained security guards, overcrowding and violent incidents including fights, shootings and even terrorist attacks are among the most serious threats to public safety.
In August, 2016 n August 31, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI distributed a joint bulletin to state and local law enforcement agencies across the country warning that “homegrown” terrorists have shifted their focus to civilian targets instead of government and military instillations. Earlier that month, British officials issued a warning citing recent intelligence indicating that the Islamic State or ISIS was plotting attacks on shopping malls and stadiums.
Cynthia Hodges holds a M.A. in Political Science from NEIU in Chicago, Illinois and a Post-Grad Professional Certificate in Disaster and Terrorism Management from University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill. In addition to a successful writing career, Cynthia is in the process of writing a book on the role of private security guards as first responders in the post 9/11 America. "My career has been a balance of security and education, and my passion for Homeland Security while protecting individual's Constitutional rights has grown as a result of the two."