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14 Vietnamese tailors die in fire in Russia

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13 September, 2012A fire at one of the clandestine sewing factories in Yegoryevsk, Russia took 14 lives of migrant workers of Vietnamese origin, four people survived, one hospitalized with burns.

According to the preliminary investigation the fire started on 11 September 2012 around 16:20 on the second floor of an industrial building in Yegoryevsk (a city located 100 km to the southeast from Moscow) on the site of an old cotton factory. The cause of the fire was reportedly a short circuit, but an official investigation continues.

The victims were migrant workers of Vietnamese origin who did not have the right to work in Russia. When the fire started people could not get out of the building because the exit door was locked and blocked from outside with a sledgehammer.

The police are looking for the owner of the illegal business. The owner of the premises claims not to have been aware of the factory on his property saying the shop was rented to a third party.

The premises had already been twice the focus of the Russian Federal Migration Service. Last time in April, the FMS discovered 20 workers from Uzbekistan who were without the legal right to work and deported them from the country.

As part of the on-going investigation the authorities have also found nearby another illegal factory with 60 Vietnamese workers. The police detained the workers until further investigation of their case is complete.