No fewer than 13 people were killed when a fire tore through a crowded nightclub, in Kostroma, Russia in the early hours of Saturday.
According to CNN, the officials said the blaze broke out at about 2:30 a.m in Polygon – an entertainment venue with a bar, restaurant and ample dance floor – after a man shot a flare gun at the ceiling.
“Very quickly the room began to fill with acrid smoke and the evacuation exits were difficult to see. There was pushing and panic,” the agency reported, citing an eyewitness in Kostroma, which lies some 300 km (190 miles) northeast of Moscow.
In video footage posted on social media, people can be heard shouting while what looked like a large cloud of thick smoke expanded outwards from a fire on the ceiling.
The report further revealed that rescuers said 250 people were evacuated from the building.
“The flames were horrible, burning on several sides at once,” said another witness.
Video shared by investigators showed firefighters spraying water on the smouldering, collapsed roof of the building. According to rescuers, the fire covered an area of 3,500 square metres and took about five hours to put out.
Investigators said a 23-year-old man has been detained in connection with the incident.
The same prosecutors have begun an investigation into the establishment itself, after finding that a number of the evacuation exits were blocked.