4 august, 2010 14:40  

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visits Voronezh Hospital No. 8 saved from wildfire


Vladimir Putin and the hospital's head doctor Igor Ofitserov walked around the hospital, located on the outskirts of Voronezh, and inspected the areas damaged by fire. According to Dr Ofitserov, the hospital had developed an evacuation plan, carried out drills and established observation stations a month before the fires broke out. He said that all patients (over 400 people) had been evacuated within an hour and a half and that no one had been injured. "This is what I call well-organised work," Vladimir Putin said.

The prime minister was told that the fire approached the hospital on July 29. The crown fire came from the village of Maslovka, three kilometers away. Some of the trees burned down completely. Eleven squads of the 10th Voronezh fire department, helped by the hospital staff, fought the fire.

Mr Putin also talked to the firefighters who first came to the hospital to put out the fire. The fire squads remain on duty in the hospital in case of a repeated fire outbreak.

Foreign reporters asked Mr Putin whether he is angry with the local authorities, which, according to foreign mass media, were not ready for the fires. "No, I am not angry. We should work together," the prime minister said.

On his way from the hospital to the temporary accommodation centre, Mr Putin saw members of the Young Guard (Molodaya Gvardiya) youth wing of the United Russia and talked to them. The young people said they were raising funds to help fire victims on the initiative of the party's executive committee. They said that about 100 people take part in this activity each day. Mr Putin thanked the young people for their efforts and drew their attention to the need to keep watch over people's access to forests. The prime minister noted that, due to the state of emergency declared in the region, the access to forests should be restricted for the sake of fire safety.