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December 7, 2009

Reports: Russian pyrotechnics blast kills more than 100

By Jim Heintz
The Associated Press

MOSCOW — An explosion apparently caused by pyrotechnics tore through a nightclub in the Russian city of Perm early Saturday, killing more than 100 people, according to emergency officials quoted by state television.

It was not immediately clear if the pyrotechnics were kept in storage at the club or being used as part of a show like in the fire that killed 100 people at a rock club in the U.S. state of Rhode Island in 2003.

Ten people died when a so-called "fire show" went out of control at a Moscow club in March 2007.

In the chaotic aftermath of the blast and subsequent fire, casualty figures differed. State television news channel Vesti cited the Investigative Committee, Russia's top investigative body, as saying the death toll was higher than 100. Reports citing other officials ranged from 86 to more than 90.

Perm, a city of about 1 million people, is about 700 miles (1,200 kilometers) east of Moscow in the Ural Mountains.

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Enforcement of fire safety standards in Russia is notoriously lax and in recent years there have been several catastrophic blazes at drug-treatment facilities and apartment buildings.