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Tajik Officials Called 'Negligent' After Deadly Orphanage Fire --> Survivors of the Dushanbe orphanage fire (RFE/RL) 9 January 2006 -- Three Tajik officials have been reprimanded for their handling of a fire on 8 January that killed 13 children at a Dushanbe orphanage, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reported.

President Imomali Rahmanov today accused the three of "negligence." They are Labor and Social Affairs Minister Zokir Vazirov, Deputy Prime Minister for Social Affairs Kheirinessa Mavlanova, and the head of the president's office for social affairs, Bobokhon Mahmadov.

There were no immediate reports of criminal charges or other punitive action against the three.

But criminal proceedings have been initiated against the economic director of the orphanage, Ilhom Ashurov. He is accused of having failed to contact firefighters until an hour after the blaze began.

Interior Minister Khumdin Sharipov said the orphanage management had been notified 12 times since March about fire hazards. The orphanage management was fined in November for violations of fire-safety regulations there.

A director at the orphanage, Sadullo Yatimov, said employees had called firefighters as soon as they saw the blaze.

Witnesses have suggested that firefighters arrived on the scene only after all the surviving children had been evacuated.
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