A military barracks in Siberia has collapsed, killing nearly two dozen Russian conscripts housed in the building. More than 40 servicemen were reportedly injured in the collapse. Twenty-three conscripts died and 19 servicemen have been hospitalized with various injuries. Many of the victims were teenagers who had recently been recruited. Desperate relatives seeking to check on family members were seen waiting outside the guarded gates to the barracks this morning.
The soldiers were crushed to death when their barracks collapsed on them on Sunday evening as they were resting. An entire section of military barracks, including parts of the roof and walls, fell in. One sector of the four-story building completely imploded under the weight of the roof collapse. Roughly 350 rescue workers and search dogs were dispatched to the scene. They worked through the night clearing rubble to get to the injured and the dead.
The barracks were originally built in 1975 and was part of a training center that trained armored infantry vehicle drivers and junior officers for the Russian military. The facility is located just outside the Siberian city of Omsk, about 2,200 kilometers east of Moscow. The building that collapsed was last renovated in 2013.
Russia has long been known for shoddy construction work and lax safety standards. Building collapses and other infrastructure accidents are fairly frequent in the country. On Saturday, two people were killed in the Urals city of Perm when a section of a residential building collapsed. The collapse of the military barracks has been blamed on the negligence of the construction workers that renovated the building. If the construction workers are found guilty of causing the collapse, they could face up to 10 years in prison.
An anonymous officer said, “The roof of the building was covered with a thick layer of foam concrete.” Authorities believe that a leak in the roof let in water, weighing down the foam. The officer continued, “Foam soaks up water like a sponge. Apparently, under the weight of accumulated water collapsed the roof of the building. And then the floors collapsed under the overlay, as the building is very old.” All military buildings were being checked today in the wake of the accident.