Funerals Held For Victims Of Deadly Russian Building Collapse

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Some of the 39 people killed in the apartment-building collapse in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk on New Year's Eve have been buried.

Russian authorities declared the end of the search operation by hundreds of rescue workers on January 3 after an explosion sent a section of the 10-story building in the southern Urals city crashing to the ground.

Six of the victims were buried in funeral services on January 4 that were attended by hundreds of friends and relatives and the governor of the Chelyabinsk region.

Among those buried was a family of three -- Igor and Anastasia Kramarenko, both 31, and their 1 1/2-year-old daughter Milana -- and one other victim.

Viktor Vorontsov, 42, was buried in his native village of Agapovka near Magnitogorsk, while a sixth funeral took place in the city of Sterlitamak in the neighboring Russian republic of Bashkortostan.

RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports that the bodies of four members of a Tajik family killed in the disaster will be transported to Tajikistan following a service in nearby Chelyabinsk.

The father, Shuhrat Ulfatov, 26, remains in critical condition in hospital after spending more than six hours under the debris. But the rest of the family was killed, including 24-year-old Rajabmo Isoeva, 6-year-old Ahmad, 4-year-old Fotima, and 3-year-old Saimuhsiddin.

On January 4, the city administration made public the list of 39 victims.

In a statement, the city authorities asked residents not to organize commemoration gatherings "in order to avoid emergency situations."

Officials said the blast was likely caused by a gas leak in the complex of apartment buildings that was built in 1973 and houses some 1,100 people. But some media reports suggested that possible traces of explosives were found at the site and that the blast that caused the collapse could have been a terrorist act.

The Investigative Committee said in a January 4 statement that it did not find any traces of explosives in samples taken from the rubble.

The city administration said on January 4 that the damaged part of the apartment block will be removed.

The city administration also ordered a local energy provider to restart water and electricity supplies to the remaining parts of the apartment block. But the building will not receive gas supplies.

Magnitogorsk authorities also said that a memorial honoring the victims will be erected at the site of the collapse.

The local Orthodox Church said a mass prayer will be held at the site on the ninth day after the deaths, in accordance with its traditions.

January 2 was an official day of mourning in Chelyabinsk Oblast, where Magnitogorsk -- an industrial city of some 400,000 people about 1,700 kilometers southeast of Moscow -- is located.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.