DUSHANBE, May 17, 2011, Asia-Plus -- Russian media outlets report seven people were killed and nine others injured early Tuesday when a fire engulfed an apartment building in downtown Moscow.

Russian news agency, RIA Novosti, reports the fire broke out in a 19th-century three-storey apartment block on Bolshoi Afansyevsky Lane, close to the historic Arbat Street, at 5:54 am.  A total of 15 firefighting units were reportedly involved in extinguishing the blaze. 

RIA Novosti quoted the Moscow firefighting service chief Ilya Denisov as saying that the apartment block was in a poor condition and the owners were fined in February for failure to comply with fire safety requirements.

“Maintenance work on the building was suspended in 2009; it was unfit for living in,” Denisov said.

Police say a group of labor migrants from a number of CIS nations was illegally living on the ground floor of the apartment block.

Firefighters say they rescued 20 people from the building, many of them children.

In the meantime, the Tajik Embassy in Moscow says three Tajik nationals were killed in Tuesday’s fire in Moscow.  Among them are two residents of GBAO’s Shugnan district – Alikhon Saidnaimov, 26, and Naimsho Saidnaimov, 19 – and Qurbon Ahmadov, 55, from Sughd’s Jabborrasulov district.

“The bodies of the remaining four persons that also died in that fire have not yet been identified,” the source said.

The news agency, REGNUM, reports Kyrgyz citizens were injured in the Moscow fire.  REGNUM quoted the Kyrgyz MFA press service as saying that according to the preliminary data, Nuraim Almaambetov, 33, Merinsa Aytnazarova, 6, and Emir Aytnazarov, 3, were injured in the fire.  According to the preliminary information, they are currently at Sklifosofky Emergency Hospital, REGNUM reports.