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Fire in Russian School Kills 22

April 7, 2003

MOSCOW (AP) _ A fire in a two-story rural school in the northern republic of Yakutia on Monday killed 21 students and a teacher, emergency official said. Ten other people were hospitalized.

The fire broke out as the school day began in Sydybal in Yakutia, about 3,000 miles east of Moscow, said Viktor Beltsov, a spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry.

According to the ITAR-Tass news agency, the students were roughly between the ages of 11 and 16. It said that fire trucks had to travel to the scene from a regional center 18 miles away, and by the time they arrived it was too late to save most of the students.

No further details were immediately available.

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