, ALMATY, Sep 13 – Thirty-eight people were killed early Sunday when a fire ripped through a drugs treatment facility near Kazakhstan’s business capital Almaty, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.
There was no information on what caused the fire, which began at roughly 5:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) in the city of Taldykorgan, or why so many people had been unable to escape the blaze.
"According to tentative data, 38 people were killed in the burning inferno," the ministry said in a statement on its website.
Emergency services personnel at the scene were able to save 40 patients and medical staff, the ministry said, but firefighters were still fighting to contain the blaze several hours later.
Fires are common in the countries of the former Soviet Union and retirement homes and other state-run facilities are particularly prone to such accidents.
In 2006, 45 women were killed when a fire erupted at a drugs treatment clinic in Moscow. The women had been trapped behind locked doors and barred windows during the blaze.