Moscow, Sep 13: Thirty-seven people died in an accidental fire at a mental healthcare home in northwest Russia Friday, an official said.
The fire broke out at around 3 a.m. local time in the male ward of the one-storey wooden facility in Luka village in Novgorod region. A patient smoking might have started it.
A senior officer of the Novgorod region, Denis Maliayev, told Xinhua the toll was likely to go up as firefighters searched the debris.
The psychiatric hospital housed patients with chronic mental disorders and in need of permanent care.
More than 70 emergency workers and 16 firefighting units were dispatched to the scene.
This incident is another in a chain of fires at mental institutions across Russia this year. On April 2, an early morning fire at a mental institution in the town of Ramensky north of Moscow killed 38, including two nurses.