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At least 36 die in Moscow university fire

Last updated on: November 25, 2003 02:28 IST

At least 36 foreign students were killed and 182 injured when a blaze swept through a university hostel in Moscow early Monday.

The fire broke out in the five-storey dormitory of the People's Friendship University at 0200 hours local time (0430 IST). It took nearly three and a half hours for firefighters to extinguish the blaze.

There were casualties among students from India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Japan, Malaysia, Palestine and several African and Central Asian countries, it said.

All the injured had been admitted to various hospitals in Moscow, it added.

The fire, apparently caused by an electrical fault, gutted the top three floors of the block, which Rossiya state television said was a 'quarantine' dormitory for students who had recently arrived in the country and had not yet begun their studies.

Rescuers quoted by Russian news agency Interfax said some students suffered spinal or head injuries after leaping from the windows to escape the smoke and flames.

According to a spokesman of the Fire Safety Department 270 students lived in the dormitory.

The authorities suspect that the fire started in a second-storey room, where three Nigerian girls lived.

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