Officials: Russian nightclub fire toll hits 125

AP News
Posted: Dec 09, 2009 9:56 AM

Members of a regional government in Russia overseeing a town hit by a deadly nightclub blaze resigned Wednesday as the death toll from the fire rose to 125.

The provincial government in the Ural Mountains city of Perm announced its collective resignation in a statement but did not provide any details about how many people were involved. The move could prove symbolic, however, as the statement said most of the officials are to continue in their positions in an "acting" capacity until an investigation into the fire is concluded. That could mean they end up keeping their jobs.

In a separate statement, regional authotities said the death toll had risen to 125. More than 100 injured people remain hospitalized, including many in critical condition, the statement said. It added that 48 children lost one parent in the blaze, while 15 lost both parents.

The fire at Perm's Lame Horse nightclub broke out early Saturday when an indoor fireworks display ignited the plastic ceiling, which was decorated with branches. The blaze spread swiftly, and hundreds of revelers tried to flee through a single exit.

Four people including the club owner and a pyrotechnics supplier have been jailed pending a negligence probe. Another suspect, the man who leased the club from the owner, died Wednesday in a Moscow clinic from injuries sustained in the fire, the statement said.

Several regional fire safety officials have been suspended over the blaze.