‘Tell Mum That I Loved Her’: Final Messages From Children in Russian Shopping Mall That Killed 64

March 26, 2018 Updated: March 26, 2018    

Details of the fire that claimed 64 lives in Russia have begun to emerge, as relatives described the final phone calls and text messages from loved ones trapped in the shopping center.

Dozens of children are feared dead in the deadly blaze that started in the “Winter Cherry” shopping center in the the Siberian city of Kemerovo on Sunday afternoon, March 25.

At least 20 of those confirmed dead could be children, according to reports.

Chilling final messages from the missing children have been emerging, as the search for survivors continues.

Viktoria Pochankona, 12, who was trapped in the cinema complex, phoned her aunt and said, “Everything is burning. The doors are blocked. I can’t go out, I can’t breathe… Auntie, tell all my family I love them…Tell mum that I loved her…” according to the Sun.

A cinema complex and children’s play area were located in the mall.

Evgenia, Viktoria’s aunt told the Sun, “The school vacations have just begun and almost all their class was there—about 10 people. Two or three parents and a teacher.

“The teacher left the kids in the cinema and went with parents in the shopping mall. So all the adults survived…”

Maria Moroz, 13, messaged from the cinema with the words, “We are on fire….” the Sun reported.

After a relative replied, she said, “Looks like this is farewell from me.”

She later died in the hospital.

It is believed that 47 people are injured with many people still unaccounted for.

Sergei Moskalenko, 11, is in a coma after jumping from a window, and it has been confirmed that his parents died in the fire, the Mirror reported.

A mother, Yulia, who was in the play area of the mall said, “The fire began on the 4th level, bouncy castles caught fire. It all was happening right in front of my eyes, I was sitting at the sofa opposite the play zone,” according to the Mirror.

Yulia, who was with her three children and her own mother sad the fire grew rapidly within seconds spreading smoke everywhere.

“It was a miracle that we survived. I ran to look for my children, when I gathered all of them, everything was in smoke.

“I lost a sight of my mother… Luckily, I met her downstairs,” she said.

Still photo taken from video provided by Russian Emergencies Ministry shows a site of a fire at a shopping mall in Kemerovo, Russia March 25, 2018. (Russian Emergencies Ministry/Handout via Reuters)

Investigators said that a security guard had turned off the fire alarm system and that exits had been illegally blocked.

Alexander Lillevyali told online newspaper Meduza that he and his wife Olga had lost all three of their daughters, two of them aged 11 and one aged five, in the blaze.

He was cited as saying he had dropped off his daughters at the cinema and that one of them had phoned later to say the auditorium was filling with smoke and that they couldn’t get out because the doors were locked.

He described how he had led rescuers up the stairs, but that they had been ordered to go elsewhere and that rescuers, citing rules, had refused to give him a respiratory mask.

“My daughters were left to burn because of their bloody rules,” Lillevyali told Meduza.

Witnesses told Russian media the fire alarm and sprinklers had failed to function and that many people had found themselves trapped because exit doors were locked.

Video footage from inside the mall after the fire broke out showed a group of people in a smoke-filled staircase trying to smash a fire exit door, which was jammed.

People place flowers at a makeshift memorial for the victims of a shopping mall fire in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, Russia March 26, 2018. (Reuters/Maksim Lisov)

 

Reuters contributed to this report

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