A fire killed at least eight people at a drug rehabilitation center in the eastern Altai region, the latest in a series of deadly blazes at drug and psychiatric hospitals around the country in recent years that have raised concerns about the safety of vulnerable patients.
Six other people were injured in the fire that began early Sunday morning at the rehab center run by Chisty List (Clean Leaf), a charity organization in the village of Krasilovo, a spokesperson for the regional Investigative Committee said, Interfax reported.
The fire was believed to have been caused by negligence, and police have detained the director of the clinic on suspicion of fire safety violations.
Last September, a fire at a psychiatric hospital in the Novgorod region killed 37 patients and a nurse's aide who died trying to rescue her wards from the flames, Itar-Tass reported.
Five months earlier, a fire at a psychiatric hospital outside Moscow killed 38 people, and several more people died in a number of smaller fires last spring.
In another widely publicized case, a fire at a drug detox and rehabilitation hospital in Moscow killed 45 people, including 43 patients, in December, 2006.
Many psychiatric and drug rehabilitation clinics in Russia have bars on their windows and doors locked by key, complicating emergency evacuation.