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Tokyo Star fire: hotel owner arrested, State Emergency Service under investigation

Photo: State Emergency Service press service

Photo: State Emergency Service press service

Law enforcers have detained the owner of the Odesa hotel Tokyo Star Vadym Cherny after the death of 9 people during a fire on the night of August 17, Odesa region 's prosecutor general's office (PGO) has said .

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky promised Cherny would be punished for "criminal negligence " even before the pretrial investigation of the causes of the fire began.

The PGO is preparing a notice of suspicion under Part 2 of Article 270 of Ukraine 's Criminal Code to the hotel owner about violating fire safety requirements at the hotel leading to the death of nine persons. If tried and convicted of the charges, Cherny would face from three to eight years imprisonment.

Prosecutors said they will seek to remand Cherny in pretrial confinement for the length of their investigation.

Ukraine 's State Investigations Agency (SBI), meanwhile, has said it will investigate State Emergencies Service members of negligence. SBI agents are checking the service 's role in the hotel fire, which reportedly started because fire safety regulations were violated.

Police, meanwhile, are mulling other versions of the crime, including arson to conceal another serious crime and careless handling of fire.

Context:

At the time of the fire, 270 hotel rooms worked in the hotel premises. Some 136 people were evacuated, 10 were hospitalized. Four of them are in critical condition. Nine persons were killed.

Earlier, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman ordered a large-scale inspection of hotels and resorts for fire safety, and Zelensky promised to personally ensure those responsible were punished.

The investigation of this case was taken under personal control by Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and National Police of Ukraine Chief Serhiy Kniazev. 

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