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Death toll in fires hit 16,000 in Russia in 2007

MOSCOW, January 16 (RIA Novosti) - The death toll in fires in Russia reached 15,924, including 597 children, in 2007, with 211,163 blazes reported, an emergencies ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

The spokesman said that the number of blaze fatalities and fires had dropped, by 7% and 3.7%, respectively, compared with 2006.

Statistics cited negligence and arson as the major causes of blazes.

Most fires were reported in the residential housing sector, which accounted for 71% of the total last year.

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