Russian provincial governor resigns over Siberia mall fire

ANI | Updated: Apr 01, 2018 13:46 IST

Moscow [Russia], Apr 1 (ANI): The governor of Siberia's Kemerovo Region, Aman Tuleyev on Sunday tendered his resignation, days after a blaze in the city's Zimnyaya Vishnya (Winter Cherry) shopping mall claimed 64 lives.

"Kemerovo Region Governor Aman Tuleyev requested Russian President Vladimir Putin to dismiss him at his own request," the regional administration's press service said in a statement, citing TASS.

Tuleyev said that his decision to resign was "a correct decision" taken under the present circumstances.

"It is impossible to remain at the governor's position with such a heavy weight on the shoulders. This would be morally wrong," he said.

Tuleyev, 73, served as Kemerovo governor since 1997.

There were earlier rumours that the 73-year-old governor was to resign owing to his poor health.

On Tuesday, a large number of people gathered in front of the Kemerovo municipal building, protesting against the negligent behaviour of the authorities leading to an outbreak of fire at Zimnyaya Vishnya mall.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the hospital morgue on the same day, where the deceased had been kept for post-mortem. He held an unplanned meeting with the members of a civic action group at Kemerovo, assuring them of severe punishment to those responsible for the massive fire hazard.

About 4,000 demonstrators gathered in front of the mall and raised doubts over the official figures of those who died, alleging that the number was much higher than 64 and demanded the resignation of Kemerovo Mayor Ilya Seredyuk and Tuleyev.

On March 25, the massive fire at the shopping mall started on the fourth floor of the mall and consumed an area of about 1,600 square meters.

As per local officials, a child may have lit a foam ball in the children's play area, which might have caused the outbreak of the fire and trapped the children within a theatre hall situated in the mall.

Reportedly, the fire alarms did not go off while all the emergency exit doors were locked. The Russian investigative committee informed that the alarms were out of service since March 19 and no manual alarms were kept in place of the automatic alarms. (ANI)