At least 13 dead, 5 injured at Cafe Blaze in Russia

MOSCOW—At least 13 people were killed and five injured in a fire at a cafe in the Russian city of Kostroma on Saturday, local officials said.

Kostroma region governor Sergei Sitnikov said 13 people were killed in the fire and another five were slightly injured. Russian news agency Interfax quoted local emergency officials as saying the death toll was his 15th. The conflicting numbers were not immediately reconcilable.

Officials said the fire broke out hours after the flamethrower was suspected. Russia’s state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported that a brawl broke out in the cafe shortly before the fire, but it was not immediately clear if it was related to the use of incendiary guns.

Rescuers were able to evacuate 250 people. The roof of the café collapsed during the fire, burning an area of ​​3,500 square meters (over 37,000 square feet). Firefighters spent five hours fighting the blaze and evacuated his 12 residents of a nearby house as a precaution.

A criminal investigation was launched and the police arrested the suspect.

Local parliamentarian and cafe owner Iktiyar Mirzoev pledged support to those affected by the fire.

Kostroma is a riverside city of 270,000 people located about 340 kilometers (210 miles) north of Moscow.

It wasn’t the first time pyrotechnics had caused a fire at a Russian recreational facility. In 2009, more than 150 people died after someone set off fireworks at the Lame Horse nightclub in Perm and erupted.

Associated Press