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7 Killed in Moscow Hotel Fire

Russian Emergency Situations Ministry

Seven people were killed and 11 injured in a large fire that erupted at a hotel in central Moscow overnight, state media reported Wednesday, citing emergency services.

Emergency crews evacuated 200 people from the 16-story building and contained the blaze by midnight, according to the TASS news agency.

The residential building houses dozens of ground-level businesses and the MKM Hotel on the second, third and fourth floors.

The fire is believed to have started on the fifth floor at around 9:00 p.m. Moscow time.

Law enforcement authorities opened a criminal case into safety rules violations, charges which carry a maximum prison sentence of six years.

Russia's Investigative Committee named arson as the cause of the fire.

According to TASS, eyewitnesses allegedly saw an apartment resident setting items on fire in the hallway.

The deadly fire is the latest in a string of similar incidents in recent years.

Fire safety violations are common in Russia due to corrupt practices of exchanging building permits for bribes.

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