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Meeting with Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov

September 23, 2016, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin met with Minister of Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Relief Vladimir Puchkov.

The President conveyed condolences to the families of ministry employees who died fighting a major fire in eastern Moscow the previous evening.

The operation involved 300 fire fighters and over 50 units of equipment. The conflagration was assigned 4th complexity rating and took 14 hours to put out. Eight personnel died in the process.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Puchkov, last night you reported to me about a fire in Moscow and expressed concerns about the potential for a tragedy involving the death of your colleagues, Emergencies Ministry officers who extinguished the fire. Unfortunately, these fears were confirmed.

I would like to offer condolences to the families of those who died. I would also like to say that we will do our best to support both families and personnel, the squads. I’m sure that you will do everything you can in your official capacity.

I would like to say that the timely detection of possible safety violations, including in areas that pose a fire hazard, and responding to these violations will reduce the number of such tragedies and similar incidents. Please take this into consideration.

Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov: Yes, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin: What is happening there now?

Vladimir Puchkov: Mr President, the fire rescue units of the Moscow garrison arrived eight minutes after the fire broke out in the warehouse with a total area of 16,000 square metres. They evacuated and rescued over 100 workers of the enterprise and took the necessary measures to minimise the risk to people living nearby, as plastic products were kept at the warehouse and the chemicals posed a real threat.

The fire team assessed the risks and entered the warehouse to accomplish its tasks. Unfortunately, eight of our colleagues died, but they showed professionalism, courage and selflessness.

At present, we are hosing down the building to eliminate potential fire sources at the warehouse. The fire laboratory of the Emergencies Ministry is working together with our colleagues from the Investigative Committee to identify the cause of the fire.

The Russian State Fire Service has repeatedly inspected this facility in the last three years. The last inspection took place in March 2016, which detected a number of violations related to the absence of the automatic fire suppression and smoke exhaust systems, and other violations.

The officials and the company were punished and fined, and were ordered to remedy the defects by November 1, 2016. Unfortunately, we can state that they did not comply, but the final result will be clear once the proceedings have been completed.


September 23, 2016, The Kremlin, Moscow