Authorities are launching criminal charges after a man allegedly fired a flare during a confrontation, setting the nightclub on fire.
At least 13 people have died in an overnight fire at a nightclub in the Russian town of Kostroma and police have arrested a man suspected of setting it on fire by firing a flare.
Video shared by investigators on Saturday showed firefighters spraying water on what appeared to be the building’s smoldering, collapsed roof.
The fire took place at the Polygon, a multi-purpose leisure venue used as a café, nightclub and bar.
“As a result of the fire, 13 people died. The number of dead and injured is being clarified,” the judicial inquiry commission said in a statement.
TASS news agency quoted investigators as saying the fire may have started after a man fired a flare inside.
Witness testimony suggested the man may have been angry after his advances were rejected.
“He was spending time in the bar with a woman, ordered her flowers, a flare gun in his hand,” an unnamed witness told the Russian news agency. “Then he went to the dance floor and shot.”
Rescuers evacuated 250 people from the building while more than 50 firefighters worked to put out the blaze.
The fire was extinguished at 7:29 a.m. (0429 GMT), according to the regional governor, who put the number of injured at five.
Kostroma, a city of about 270,000 people, lies 300 km (190 miles) northeast of Moscow on the banks of the Volga.
In 2009, someone set off fireworks at the Lame Horse nightclub in the Russian city of Perm, killing more than 150 people.