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Irina Madatova, director of Yerevan Canning Factory, a company operating on the territory of Surmalu shopping center, refuses to comment.

NEWS.am correspondent tried to get in touch with Madatova, but her relatives reported that she is in a serious psychological state and does not want to comment. 

Surmalu shopping center operates on the territory of the former Yerevan Canning Factory. The territory is managed by Yerevan Canning Factory CJSC. The owner of the territory is Razmik Zakharyan, a member of the Republic Deputy Group, who was the director of Yerevan Cannery.

Last year the Inspectorate on Urban Development, Technical and Fire Safety conducted an inspection at Yerevan Canning Factory and revealed over a dozen of violations related to fire safety regulations. A prescription was sent to the company to eliminate the violations. The inspection body also informed that the owner of the site at that time verbally asked to postpone the deadline for eliminating the violations, taking into consideration that there are many trade pavilions and they are mostly rented out. However, no re-inspection was carried out within a year. The reason, according to EI representatives, was that they had a busy schedule and the turn for the company's re-inspection was due in the fall.

About a year before the Aug. 14 explosion, in April 2021, pavilions in the Surmalu mall caught fire. The Zhoghovurd newspaper reported today that the Investigative Committee did not receive an expert report on the fire until a month ago. The professional opinion confirmed that the management of the shopping center did not comply with safety regulations. According to the newspaper, the shopping center director and security officer will soon become scapegoats instead of Zakharyan, the owner of the shopping center.

Reminder: an explosion occurred on the territory of Surmalu shopping center on August 14, which caused over 60 casualties and 16 deaths. 3 people were missing as of 5:00 p.m. The initial version of the explosion was that the main cause of death was the lack of people. According to the initial version, the cause of the explosion was a fire that broke out in a pyrotechnics warehouse located on the territory of the shopping center.

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