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  • Russian shopping centre fire

Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, Eight people have received jail sentences over the mall fire

A Russian court has handed down lengthy prison terms to managers and fire safety chiefs blamed for a leisure centre inferno that killed 60 people.

The fire engulfed the top floor of the Winter Cherry mall in March 2018, in the Siberian city of Kemerovo.

The cause was a short circuit in the lighting for a children's play area, and 37 of those killed were children.

Eight people were handed jail terms on Friday. Three other criminal cases concerning the fire remain in progress.

The investigation concluded that Yulia Bogdanova, ex-CEO of the firm that owned the mall, and other managers had violated the leisure centre's fire safety regulations.

Bogdanova received a 14 year jail sentence while Nadezhda Suddenok, CEO of the Winter Cherry company which ran the mall, got 13 and a half years.

Six others were also jailed for the disaster, including:

  • Georgy Sobolev, technical manager of the Kemerovo Confectionery Combine (KKK), which owns the complex, who got 11 years
  • Sergei Antyushin, Winter Cherry's security manager – eight years
  • Igor Polozinenko, head of the firm that serviced Winter Cherry's fire alarm – six and a half years.

Prosecutors said Bogdanova ignored fire safety rules to save money. Suddenok and Sobolev helped her in that cover-up.

Polozinenko knew of the safety defects and asked Bogdanova to pay for improvements, but she refused, the prosecutors said. Polozinenko then failed to report that neglect to any officials who could have acted on it.

  • 'I lost my entire family in the Kemerovo fire'
  • The Kemerovo mall fire: How party turned into nightmare

Bogdanova, Suddenok, Sobolev and Polozinenko admitted partial guilt for the disaster. Their lawyers are appealing against the sentences, Tass news agency reports.

Prosecutors said security chief Antyushin saw the fire break out, via CCTV, but switched off the fire alarm and failed to rescue people trapped behind exits which he knew were locked.

Many of those who died were stuck in a cinema and quickly overcome by smoke.

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To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.Media caption, Shoppers fled for their lives as mall fire took hold in 2018