Investigation of Odesa Fire Which Killed 12

The Head of the State Emergency Services in Odesa region has been suspended until the investigation has been completed


Photo from Ukrinform-UATV


The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has formed a special Government Commission to find the cause of the large fire at the College of Economics, Law, Hotel and Restaurant Business in the city of Odesa which claimed 12 lives.

Photo Ministry of Interior


The First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Serhiy Yarovy became the chair of the commission, which is composed of representatives of the Odesa regional administration, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and State Emergency Service (SES).

On December 10, 2019, the commission’s working group arrived in Odesa.

“The first meeting of the Governmental Commission for Investigation of the Causes of Fire in Odesa College takes place today. Its main task is to make a comprehensive investigation of the causes of the tragedy,” Yarovoy said, the press service of Interior Ministry reports.

SES rescuers, police officers, members of the National Guard, and city officials have been working at the site non-stop since the fire broke out on December 4, 2019 aiding search and rescue. The operation has been ongoing, day and night.

12 people died in the fire, including one rescuer. Four people are still unaccounted for while five bodies have not yet been identified.

Photo Ministry of Interior


The Odessa Police Department initiated a criminal case. The investigation is looking into three possible causes for the fire: malfunction of wiring or electrical devices; an accident involving fire, such as improper disposal of a cigarette or arson.

Police seized the fire safety records that remained unharmed by the fire. Genetic material was collected from people whose relatives are now considered missing in the hopes of identifying the five unknown victims.

The Chief of the Odesa Regional Police, Oleh Bekh, stated that the Head of the College has been notified on suspicion of criminal negligence, and several more people can be charged after certain examinations.

“The staff of the Main Department made the examination of the video recordings from the cameras of the external surveillance on the buildings located near the site of the fire. It was found that the fire occurred in the area of the third floor of the Odessa College building. According to the analysis of CCTV cameras, the first smoke was found at 10:07 on December 4,” Bekh said.

The Chief of Police stated that there was no automatic fire alarm system in the building and the notification was performed manually by pressing the outdated alarm system “Revun” on the ground floor. Despite the fact that the police have been involved in the removal of items from the building for seven days now, so far the police have not seized any fire extinguishers from the debris. However, a number of fire extinguishers were found in the Head of the dormitory’s room.

Photo Ministry of Interior


The Chair of the SES, Mykola Chechotkin, said that a radical change in the security situation in the country is possible only if the system of fire prevention is changed.

The mechanism of inspections of premises is prescribed imperfectly in the current legislation. SES staff may not be allowed to enter the premises, and the law lacks clear guidelines on what to do in such a situation.

“During the 11 months of this year, among about 56,000 planned and of-schedule inspections, over 35%, which is about 20,000 entrepreneurs used this lack in legislation [to prevent an inspection],” he said.

Prime Minister of Ukraine Oleksiy Honcharuk suspended the SES Head of the Odesa region and his deputy of their duties during the investigation.

Source UATV
date 10.12.2019
categories Ukraine
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