Blast in Russian nightclub kills at least 86

MOSCOW Fri Dec 4, 2009 6:51pm EST

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - At least 86 people were killed and 114 injured when a blast caused by fireworks ripped through a packed nightclub in the Russian city of Perm on Friday, the Emergencies Ministry said.

The blast tore through the Lame Horse nightclub in the center of Perm, a city of 1.2 million near the Ural mountains, at 11:15 P.M. Moscow time (20:15 GMT).

Russian state-run television channel Vesti-24 showed charred bodies piled on top of each other in the snow-covered street outside the club, where firemen and investigators heaved debris and black body bags.

Blood-covered women in fancy evening clothes were shown lying on stretchers as scores of policemen swarmed around.

The Emergencies Ministry told Reuters that at least 86 people had died in the blast and 114 were injured. State media had previously put the death toll at 100.

"The blast was caused by fireworks," an Emergencies Ministry spokeswoman said.

At least 200 people were dining in the club at the time of the blast.

"We are not talking about a terrorist attack; we are talking about a failure to observe fire regulations," ITAR-TASS news agency quoted a spokesman for the Prosecutor-General's main investigative unit as saying.

Perm is the sixth largest city in Russia.

Fireworks were considered one of the causes for a blaze in a top Bangkok nightclub that killed 65 people in January.

The blast follows a deadly train bombing last week, which killed 26 and injured over 100 on a train traveling between Moscow and St Petersburg, for which Chechen Islamist militants claimed responsibility.

(Reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman)

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