The fire in Moscow hotel “Russia” (1977)
The evening of 25 February 1977, in a building of the Moscow hotel “Russia” was a strong fire.
The hotel was in one of the historic districts in the center of Moscow — Zaryadye, to the East of the Kremlin, on the Bank of the Moscow river. She was commissioned in January 1967.
The hotel “Russia” consisted of four 12-storey buildings, set a closed rectangle, which formed a courtyard.
Due to the differential terrain by more than 10 meters, the three buildings were built on a high stylobate (the upper surface of the stepped base).
North facade of the hotel was topped by a 23-storey tower (North tower), the top of which was located a restaurant on 3800 places.
In the South building, facing the Moskvoretskaya embankment, was in the Central concert hall of 2500 seats, and in the podium underneath, two-hall cinema “charge” with 1,500 seats.
The hotel was 3071 room (5374). For many years it was considered the largest hotel in the country, and until the mid 1970-ies was listed in the Guinness Book of records as the biggest hotel of Europe
Signal on fire entered the remote duty of fire protection in 21 hours 24 minutes.
Before getting calls about the fire worked the lights on the panel associated with smoke detectors installed in every room.
Lit up at the same time the fifth, eleventh and twelfth floors of the North building. The people who were above the 12th floor, including visitors restaurants on 17th and 22nd floors, are trapped. Those who tried to descend down the stairs, choked and died in the smoke.
The fire was rated the fifth (highest) category of danger. In place of the fire left significant fire power of Moscow and Moscow region — a total of 1,500 professionals fire and 162 units of special equipment
The fire quickly spread. Detected new outbreaks of the fire, which began to send a powerful fire-fighting foam and water guns.
Firefighters tried to cut the Western and Eastern blocks to the fire did not spread around the perimeter of the hotel. They moved from the end of the stairwell of each floor, from the right and left corner to the center. Opened the door to save people.
Evacuation of people from the upper floors of the hotel was complicated by the insufficient length of sliding ladders, not dotyagivaya above the seventh-eighth floors. Were there people unable to withstand the unbearable heat, tried to go down on related sheets, but those were torn and people were smashed to death. Some jumped from the Windows with mattresses, hoping they somehow amortizashun fall, but it did not save them.
Then the fire took an unprecedented step: they made the vertical “track” of the four-metre scaling ladders, linking them sequentially one after the other, and the precarious “road of life” to save people. It managed to pull 43 people from the restaurant. All in all, this evening, firefighters rescued about a thousand guests. Some people firefighters were able to bring on the internal stairs. Crowds of people down there, including saved, prevented the fire.
At this time in the concert hall of the hotel came to the end of the concert satirist Arkady Raikin. To out on the street several thousand viewers is absolutely not paralyzed the process of extinguishing, at the headquarters called the artist and asked him to extend the concert
Raikin, not really knowing what it is, lengthened speech more than half an hour.
After 4.5 hours of fighting the fire with joint efforts the fire was overcome. In total, according to official figures, 42 people were killed, including five employees of the hotel. Burns of various degrees, broken bones and severe forms of poisoning, which required emergency hospitalization, got 52 people, 13 of them firefighters. Burned more than 100 hotel rooms-class, equipped with foreign appliances.
Only 1 Mar 1977 in the newspaper “Trud” has reported: “the Central Committee of the CPSU and the USSR Council of Ministers Express deep condolences to the families, relatives and friends of the victims in the accident — a fire in the hotel “Russia” in Moscow on 25 February this year. The Soviet government and local authorities shall take necessary measures on rendering assistance to victims”.
According to the official version of the incident, the cause of the fire was not disconnected from the mains soldering iron in the premises of the radio station (the”services weak currents”) on the fifth floor. Head and senior engineer of Department was soon arrested on 5 may 1978 convicted (first sentenced to fifteen years, the second — year of imprisonment), master change service has committed suicide.
Despite the conclusion of the expert Commission, the true cause of the fire remained unclear. The unofficial versions were many, including arson and terrorist attack
In subsequent years, the hotel “Russia” has consistently been popular with guests, including foreign.
In 2004 the decision was made to demolish it because of the “dilapidated”. Dismantling of the hotel “Russia” began in February 2006 and was mostly completed by early 2010. Originally in its place was planned to build a multifunctional complex, later came the idea to use this place for the parliamentary center, but these ideas eventually refused and decided to split the Park in Zaryadye.