The Kamchatka Territory Office of the Investigative Committee continues investigating into the death of three children in a heating chamber of a heating main.
It became known earlier that the head of the first section of heat networks of PAO Kamchatenergo, a public corporation, who was in charge of the work and responsible for the technical state of the heating main on the affected section, other workers of the repair brigade, who worked on the affected section and failed to isolate the site from the population: a master, an inspector, a metalworker of the first section of heat networks of Kamchatenergo, as well as the head of heat networks of Kamchatenergo, Kamchatka Heat and Power Plants, were charged with a crime under part 3 of article 238 of the RF Penal Code (fulfillment of works that do not meet safety standards and entailed death of three people by negligence). At preset two of the accused are in custody and three others are under house arrest.
According to investigators, on 28 January 2016, at 4:45 PM, the children left school No 1 in the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, but never came home. Their bodies were found at 10 PM in a heating chamber of a heating main filled with hot water and located underground near house No 30/1 in Pogranichnaya Street. The children died of hyperthermia. When the bodies were found, the heating room was filled with hot water that had accumulated due to a leak in a hot water pipe. The said leak had appeared no later than 24 January 2016, when local residents had started to call emergency services to tell about puffs of vapor coming from under the ground. The pipe was repaired by the repair brigades of Kamchatenergo, who arrived at the accident site on 24 and 26 January 2016. The repair was made improperly. Despite the fact that a rubber patch was applied on the leak on 26 January, hot water continued to leak into the chamber. In addition, because of the vapor the concrete ceiling of the chamber was damaged and made a gap, which the repairmen covered with materials at hand – sheets of pressed wood and wooden planks, which became fragile because of the vapor and could not hold the weight of the children when they fell in.
After the revealed violations of regulations of the operation and repairs of heat mains, the investigators filed a request to the management of Kamchatenergo to eliminate the reasons and conditions that had contributed to the crime. Following the review of the request, 11 workers of the enterprise have been disciplined, and another 10 will be disciplined after they are back at work after vacations and sick leaves. In addition, following the review of the same request, 4 workers, including 3 of the accused have been dismissed. In order the tragedy does not repeat, workers of Kamchatenergo, Kamchatka Heat and Power Plants have checked 3,927 heat supply facilities with special attention paid to those located near preschool facilities and schools, playgrounds or parks. After the checks repairs and other operations have been carried out at 61 facilities.
At the initiative of the investigators, preventive briefings have been held in schools in Kamchatka Territory, including briefings of the staff and school children about safety on the way to schools and back. Maps and schemes of safe routes to schools and back have been made and an instruction regulating rules of conduct and the actions of school teachers in case there are situations dangerous for the life or health of students or teachers.
A number of forensic inquiries are underway including those evaluating if the rules for construction, operation and repair of the heating chamber where the children died had been followed. A number of investigative operations are underway to find out all the details of the tragedy. The investigation is ongoing.