Hundreds of animals, kept at a petting zoo inside of a mall in Kemerovo, Russia, perished when a deadly fire broke out over the weekend. At least 64 people died inside of the eastern Russian shopping center after the blaze started on Sunday – according to multiple sources, many of the victims are children.
According to CNBC News, the Winter Cherry Mall was packed with families who were enjoying the first weekend of vacation from school – witnesses have claimed that no fire alarms went off and the mall staff was nowhere to be found.
The animals kept at the petting zoo ranged from birds, rabbits and guinea pigs to miniature pigs, foxes, squirrels and more. Yevgeny Videman, the zoo’s director, told TASS that there was no way to save the hundreds of animals who were trapped inside:
“I think they have died choking with smoke. I was the last to leave the premises. There were no humans in. Smoke on the third flood was heavy, people were leaving in panic. I simply closed the door: there was no physical possibility to save the animals. As a veterinarian, I think the animals have choked with smoke. But no one is let inside the building of the shopping mall, it is cordoned off. There was and there is no possibility to evacuate the animals.”
The cause of the deadly blaze remains under investigation.
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