MOSCOW (AP) — A fire in a large cafe in the Russian city of Kostroma killed 13 people and injured five others on Saturday, local authorities said.
The governor of the Kostroma region, Sergei Sitnikov, said 13 people died in the fire and five more were slightly injured. Kostroma, a riverside city of 270,000, is 340 kilometers (210 miles) north of Moscow.
The blaze erupted in the early hours after someone apparently used a flare gun, according to the authorities. The Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported that a brawl erupted in the cafe shortly before the fire, but it wasn’t immediately clear if it had anything to do with the flare gun.
Russia’s Investigative Committee, which investigates major crimes, said a suspect had been detained for allegedly firing the flare gun and that the cafe’s director also was being held.
Rescuers were able to evacuate 250 people. The roof of the cafe collapsed during the fire, which engulfed an area of 3,500 square meters (more than 37,000 square feet). Firefighters spent five hours battling the blaze, and a dozen residents of nearby residential buildings were evacuated as a precaution.
Ikhtiyar Mirzoyev, a member of the regional legislature and owner of the cafe, promised assistance to those affected by the fire.
It wasn’t the first time that pyrotechnics caused a deadly fire at a recreational venue in Russia. In 2009, more than 150 people were killed in a blaze at the Lame Horse nightclub in the city of Perm that erupted after a performer set off fireworks.