At least 111 people were killed and 134 injured, most of them seriously, when an explosion caused by fireworks set ablaze a packed nightclub in the Russian city of Perm early today.

The blast hit the Lame Horse nightclub as over 220 people, mostly its employees and their families, were partying inside to celebrate its eighth anniversary, ITAR-TASS reported quoting local police.

“The accident was due to a violation of instructions when launching fireworks,” senior judicial official Vladimir Markin was quoted as saying.

The state-owned Vesti TV said that 111 people were killed and 134 injured, 85 of them seriously, in the accident which occurred the Russian Ural city of Perm in the wee hours today.

Most of the victims succumbed to burns and carbon monoxide poisoning.

“The majority of the deaths were the result of burns or gas inhalation, Markin, was quoted as saying by ‘RIA Novosti’ .

“Along with this, there was a crush at the exit” as panicked crowd scrambled hard to escape, he said.

He ruled out the possibility that the accident was caused by a terrorist act. “There is no chance it was a terrorist act, I can say that 100 per cent,” Markin was quoted as saying by Vesti TV.

Regional Security Minister Igor Orlov said the restaurant had a suspended plastic ceiling that caught fire quickly.

“There were fireworks launched at the scene, and one hit the plastic ceiling, setting all ablaze. People panicked and succumbed to burns, general crush and gas poisoning,” Orlov was quoted by ITAR—TASS as saying.

Perm, a city of around one million people, is about 1,200 kilometres east of Moscow in the Ural Mountains.

In March 2007, ten people had died in an accident during a so-called “fire show” at a Moscow club.

In February 2008, a fire in the Golden Rock nightclub in the Siberian city of Omsk killed four people.

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