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17 People Have Died In A Fire At An Illegal Nursing Home In Ukraine

The fire tore through the two-story building, which was serving as an unauthorized nursing home facility.

Posted on May 29, 2016, at 12:54 p.m. ET

Seventeen people have died after fire destroyed a makeshift nursing home near Ukraine's capital, Kiev, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

State Emergency Service of Ukraine

Ukraine's government said the blaze occurred in the village of Litochky, about 30 miles northeast of the capital, at a private residence that was serving as an unauthorized home for the elderly.

Gleb Garanich / Reuters

In a statement, police said some 35 people were inside the hostel when the fire started shortly before 4 a.m. local time. Eighteen people were rescued, five of whom were being treated for burns, before the blaze was extinguished several hours later.

Genya Savilov / AFP / Getty Images

Authorities said the owner of the building has been detained and may face charges for violating fire safety codes. If convicted, he could be jailed for up to eight years.

Genya Savilov / AFP / Getty Images

Ukraine's prime minister has ordered an inquiry into the fire and all the country's elderly residences will now be inspected. "On behalf of the government, please accept my sincere condolences on the terrible tragedy that has caused this irreparable loss," Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said in a statement.

Genya Savilov / AFP / Getty Images