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Co-Owner Denied Bail After Devastating Nightclub Fire

A Perm court on Monday refused to release on bail the co-owner of the Khromaya Loshchad (Lame Horse) nightclub, where a horrific 2009 fire killed 156 people.

The co-owner, Anatoly Zak, had asked to be freed for medical reasons, Interfax reported, citing a court representative. His bail had been set at 15 million rubles ($477,000).

Zak, who is charged with negligence, was hospitalized after complaining of chest pains in court on Oct. 26. He subsequently underwent an operation, Interfax said.

The nightclub's other co-owner, Konstantin Mrykhin, was sentenced to six and a half years in a prison colony earlier this year and ordered to pay more than 200 million rubles ($6.6 million) in damages to survivors and families of the dead. He had fled to Spain after the fire and was extradited back to Russia in 2011.

The fire erupted on Dec. 5, 2009, after a pyrotechnic show ignited the bamboo ceiling, which was covered in highly flammable materials in violation of safety codes. Patrons were only able to escape the club through a single exit accessible through a narrow stairway.

Nightclub director Svetlana Yefremova and art director Oleg Fetkulov are also standing trial, as well as the owner of the fireworks company Pirosve, Sergei Derbenev, and his son and work associate Igor Derbenev.

But only club co-owner Zak remains in custody.

Footage of the nightclub tragedy recorded by a club-goer shows the fire begin as sparks flashed behind a decorative wooden panel on the ceiling. People began to push their way toward the exit as the fire spread rapidly across the room. People who made it onto the street could be seen stripping off their burning clothing.

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