Kemerovo Fire

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Current Events, Words

I support hardworking, blue-collar men and women the world over.  Craftspersons, tradespersons, teachers, steel workers, peasants, farmers, etc.  Where there are men and women using their talents to create and tend to others in life, I honor them.

Kemerovo, Russia is just such a hardworking city about 1,600 miles east of Moscow.  On, Sunday, a massive fire broke out in a shopping mall in Kemerovo killing 64 people, most of them young children.  Several others have been injured and hospitalized.

I have watched several of the videos of the fire and analyzed several still frame photos trying to make sense of the fire.  (For the reader who has not read my About Kelly page, I am a retired fire officer.)

In “reading” the smoke and fire, the fire was deep-seated early and quickly filled the mall with smoke.  Little do most people know, fire rarely kills people, it’s almost always the smoke and lack of oxygen which kills people in fires.

While I know there are various accusations going on in politics regarding Russia, it does not negate that many normal, hardworking men, women, and children died in a massive fire on the first day of their Spring Break.

While America does have one of the highest fire loss rates in the world- for industrialized countries- fire departments in the USA generally do a good job of education, enforcement, and engineering to protect occupants from the ravages of fire.

From the information I am reading about the Kemerovo shopping center fire, it appears that this shopping mall was not up to building code and was not likely inspected very often, if at all.  What’s really scary, though, are initial reports that fire exits were locked and fire alarms turned off.

I think it’s possible that this fire is a crime, an intentional act, and the while I am not an arson investigator, it seems uncanny to me that on one of the busiest days of the year for this mall, that a quickly advancing fire would erupt in the building while exits were locked.  This is certainly a suspicious fire.

I write at a distance.  When it comes to fires in general, I still have the tendency to pull the shades down and protect myself and become emotionally uninvolved.  Robot-mode.

Nevertheless, I am saddened and heartbroken for this Russian community.  Two things that speak to my heart are the people and firefighting.

If anyone in Russia is reading this, my thoughts and heart are with you, I am sorry for your loss. How do I, sitting here, thousands of miles apart, send you my wishes for healing and understanding?

As a retired firefighter, I do understand the anguish of the community and the hurt.  May you be strong and resilient, and united together in this time of pain.

Your друг.

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