From A fire in the system: Social implications of the tragedy in Kemerovo by Alexander Firsov in Forbes Russia: the disaster, he writes, will confirm…

…a sense of profound moral and managerial corrosion underlying the system, which [corrosion] cannot be eradicated by case-by-case personnel replacements.

From Igor Zalyubovin’s report in Snob:

Large malls have “anti-panic” emergency doors installed… In one of the smaller shopping centers in the south-east of Moscow… there are no such doors, nor a voluntary fire team. “We’re already paying crazy bribes to the fire inspectors for nothing,” explained the owner of a small shopping center by the Moscow Ring Road, “you’re paying 20 thousand [rubles, or $350] just for a visit from them, when they don’t really find any violations. Our papers are all in order. The fire extinguishers are in their proper places.”

One can download a complete fire safety document pack from the Internet for 950 rubles [$17]. It consists of 56 documents – orders [by regulatory bodies], log books, manuals, and safety signs. According to the management of the shopping center by the Ring Road, in the case of fire, these documents – along with the rest of the building – will burn away in half an hour. “Everying here is made of effin’ plastic – it would catch fire like a candle. I don’t think we’d be trying to put out anything – let it burn down. To hell with it.”

About 25 49 hours after the start of the deadly fire, Putin declared March 28 a national day of mourning.


  1. You’re don’t really fight fires in large buildings, especially commercial ones. Passive fire protection stops a fire starting, and if one does start the sprinklers kick in not to put the fire out, but to keep surfaces cool thus stopping the spread, giving everyone time to get out. It’s all about buying enough time to evacuate, hence fire doors, etc.

    Once everyone is out, you just let it burn. The fire brigade will pour water on, not to save any property but to stop it spreading to others, and a lot of the time they’re just keeping adjacent surfaces cool to stop the fire spreading rather than pouring water onto flames. Once it’s all over, the owner calls their insurance company. So they guy’s remark:

    “I don’t think we’d be trying to put out anything – let it burn down. To hell with it.”

    Is pretty much what everyone does.

    • “Once everyone is out, you just let it burn.”

      Exactly. The really interesting parts in the manager’s confessions are the parasitic fire inspectors and “plastic everywhere.” He’s probably talking about cheap plastic that catches fire easily and burns with poisonous fumes, so people either have no time to escape or pass out from inhaling the smoke.

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