Accessibility links

Russia's Perm Mourns, Anger Voiced After Club Fire

WATCH: Scenes of the tragedy unfolding at the Lame Horse nightclub in Perm, where the club's wicker interior erupted in flames in the early hours of December 5. Video from Reuters.

PERM (Reuters) -- Perm residents have gathered at the central morgue on a bitterly cold Siberian day to identify the dead after a nightclub fire and express outrage over safety standards they blame for causing 110 deaths.

Roughly three dozen people stood in the snow outside the morgue, while a small crowd laid flowers and lit candles at daybreak outside the Lame Horse nightclub where a pyrotechnics show sparked the blaze.

Eyewitnesses said sparks from fireworks set fire to wicker coverings on the walls and ceiling of the club, and that a stampede broke out as more than 200 guests rushed toward a single narrow exit.

"It was monstrous, young people died there, the future of Russia," said Sergei Prokofiev, an 18 year-old student and a stepbrother of one of the victims.

Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the Russian Prosecutor-General's Investigative Committee, told Interfax news agency today that a criminal case has been opened into the cause of the blaze.

"This is not a premeditated murder, but this does not lessen the gravity of the crime," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on December 5.

In addition to the dead, roughly 130 people are suffering from smoke inhalation and extensive burns. About 80 of the victims have been flown to hospitals in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Chelyabinsk.

An all-day memorial service is also under way at the central cathedral in the industrial city of Perm, which is located 1,150 kilometers northeast of Moscow.