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RUSSIA (CBSMiami) – Authorities in Russia have launched a criminal investigation into a fire at a shopping mall that killed at least 64 people – many of them children.
Witnesses say the fire alarms didn’t go off when the blaze broke out Sunday – on the first weekend of a school break.
The smell of smoke was the only warning some people had that a fire was racing through a busy Russian shopping center.
Witnesses say fire alarms in the mall didn’t work.
As panic sets in – a boy is seen asking, ‘where’s my dad?’ and a woman shouts – ‘just run, let’s get out!’
Cell phone video shows rescuers trying in vain to break down a door.
Investigators say fire exits were blocked and a security guard had switched off the fire warning system.
Two roofs collapsed on a cinema – trapping movie-goers.
One girl called her father to say she smelled smoke but couldn’t get out because the door was locked.
The blaze burned through the night inside one of the Siberian city’s most popular entertainment complexes for children.
Russia’s state news agency reports a child with a cigarette lighter may have set fire to foam on a trampoline.
Firefighters are searching through piles of charred rubble to recover bodies — and a memorial to victims is growing.
An 11-year-old boy survived after jumping from a fourth floor window.
His parents and little sister reportedly died in the blaze.
Authorities have ordered all shopping malls in russia to be immediately checked for fire safety.
Police have arrested several people as part of the criminal investigation.
The mall also had a petting zoo — and some 2-hundred animals are believed to have died.