At least 37 people were killed after a fire swept through a psychiatric hospital in northwest Russia overnight Thursday, officials said. This was the second deadly blaze at such facility this year, heightening concerns about Russia's treatment of mentally ill and other vulnerable wards of state.
The fire, which according to preliminary information was sparked by a patient smoking in bed, quickly spread through the wooden structure housing at the all-male facility in Luka village in the region of Novgorod.
Around 60 patients and personnel were believed to be inside the hospital when it caught fire and around 20 were evacuated, the committee said.
In April, a fire that ravaged a psychiatric hospital in the Moscow region killed 38 people, most of them patients engulfed by flames as they slept behind barred windows.