17 die in New Year's fires in Russia

Jan. 2, 2012 at 11:46 AM

MOSCOW, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Fires in Russia, some at New Year's celebrations, killed at least 17 people, authorities said Monday.

Six people, including two children, died in a fire Monday in the town of Berezniki in the Perm Territory in the Urals, officials said.

Two people, an 18-year-old girl and a 3-year-old, were killed by a fire in a home in Yoshkar-Ola in the Republic of Mari El Monday. A 35-year-old woman was injured.

Separate fires in the Republic of Buryatia in East Siberia killed nine people during the weekend, including three children, RIA Novosti reported.

In those fires:

-- A 30-year-old woman and her two young children died in a house fire in the village of Tsakir Sunday.

-- A man and a woman from the village of Kholtoson died Sunday in a fire. The republic's safety inspector, Vasily Priyemenko, said the victims were drunk when the fire broke out.

-- Two women, a man and a 3-year-old child died in a fire late Sunday, emergency officials said.

In all of the incidents, emergency response services were not immediately informed about the fires, RIA Novosti reported.

Emergency officials issued this statement on the fire that killed the six people in Berezniki:

"At about [6 a.m.] local time, a fire broke out in a one-room apartment of the five-story residential building in Yubileinaya Street in Berezniki. The firefighters who arrived at the scene found the bodies of a 2-year girl and a man in the completely burnt-out apartment. There were also a 5-year-old boy and three women in an unconscious condition in the apartment who later died in hospital."

About 15,000 people die in fires across Russia every year, statistics indicate. In the United States, a country with twice the population of Russia, the number is around 3,400, officials said.

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