Armenian athlete Arsen Khachatryan was at the shopping mall in Kemerovo, Russia, with his wife and small children, when the large fire had broken out there.
Khachatryan, who lives in Kemerovo, told Armenian News-NEWS.am that they had decided to go to the movies at the shopping mall.
“[But] people began to run,” he recalled. “At first, it seemed to me that they were late to the movie. (…) then I saw smoke coming out. There were two small children in front of us; they had lost their parents. We quickly took those two children in our arms, too, and we all went down.
“I took everyone out, I came back, took out the car. There were other children; I brought them, too, out of the building with me. I wanted to go back again; [but] everything was already full of smoke; I couldn’t go in.”
In his words, the fire had started instantly at the children’s playground and it had spread.
“Two children—a sister and a brother—from our Karate federation were in that room,” Arsen Khachatryan added. “Sadly, they died.”
The fire at this four-story shopping center had occurred on March 25. According to official information, it claimed the lives of 64 people, including 41 children.