Nightclub Fire in Russia Leaves at Least 15 Dead

More than a dozen people were killed early Saturday after a fire tore through a Russian nightclub.

According to the Associated Press, the incident took place at around 2:30 a.m. at Polygon—a single-story venue located in the city of Kostroma. Shortly after the blaze broke out, about 250 people were evacuated from the building, which is also used as a bar and cafe bar. Authorities say the blaze left at least 15 people dead and five others injured.

Local outlets say the roof of the venue collapsed during the fire, while emergency personnel attempted to extinguish the flames, treat victims, and search for a suspect. Investigators say they believe the fire began after a patron shot a flare gun after a woman rejected his advances.

“He was spending time in the bar with a woman, ordered her flowers, with a flare gun in his hands,” a witness told TASS news agency, as reported by Al Jazeera. “Then he went to the dance floor and fired it.”

Police have reportedly identified and detained the suspect.

“As a result of complex operational-search measures, police officers identified and detained a suspect in an unlawful act in one of the entertainment establishments in the city of Kostroma, which caused a fire and death of people,” the Ministry of Internal Affairs Media said in a statement. “Currently, the suspect has been handed over to the investigating authorities.”

Russia’s emergency ministry officials said the building has not had a recent a fire safety inspection, as it’s considered a small business.

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