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Russian Police Open Murder Probe In Perm House Fire

A residential building where nine people, including seven children, died in a fire in the central city of Perm early on March 9.
Police in Russia have opened a murder and arson investigation in the wake of a fire that killed a couple and seven children in a village near the town of Perm in central Russia.

Investigators said a 34-year-old man, his wife, and seven children between the ages of 4 and 13 died early on March 9, apparently from carbon-monoxide poisoning caused by the fire.

The blaze orphaned an eighth child who was staying with his grandmother in a different place at the time.

Investigators say the fire appears to have been deliberately set, and some media reports allege the father may have started the blaze in an alcoholic rage.

Two additional fires in Russia's southern Saratov region have killed a total of six people. Authorities have yet to indicate the cause of those fires.

With AFP, Interfax, and dpa reporting