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Death Toll Rises In Fire At Ukrainian College In Odesa


People protesting close to the burnt college building in Odesa on December 7.
People protesting close to the burnt college building in Odesa on December 7.

The death toll from a fire at a technical college in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odesa has risen to 12 after rescuers recovered two more bodies from the site of the blaze.

According to the Odesa branch of the National Police, rescuers found two more bodies in the rubble of the building on December 9, putting the death toll at 12.

Four students killed in the fire have been identified, while a rescue worker who sustained injures during the course of fighting the fire died after being taken to hospital.

Police said that four people remain missing.

The fire erupted in the morning on December 4 on the third floor of the six-story Odesa College of Economics, Law, and Hotel and Restaurant Business, eventually engulfing an area of 4,000 square meters and injuring 30 people.

While visiting Odesa on December 8, Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk said several officials in the Odesa region had been fired over the tragedy, which police said may have been caused by arson or overloaded power lines.

A criminal investigation has been opened.

The Odesa branch of the National Police stated on December 7 that two unidentified people will be charged in connection with the deadly fire.

The last time the college underwent a fire inspection was five years ago, Honcharuk said.

"Back then the main [fire code] violations were found, and this year the building wasn't even on the priority list for an inspection," he said on his personal Telegram social-media channel.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy declared December 8 a national day of mourning for the victims.

With reporting by Ukrinform, Interfax, Ukrayinska Pravda, and dpa
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