INTRO: Fire sweeps through the three-storey building authorities say was home to almost 80 squatters.
MOREINFO: At least 15 people have been killed and seven more injured by the fire which broke out in the town of Molodyozhny in the Astrakhan region of southern Russia late on Saturday.
Fire swept through this three-storey building in the southern Russian town of Molodyozhny.
It's feared nearly 80 squatters were living in the property.
At least 15 people have been killed and seven more injured in the blaze which reduced the former hostel to a pile of smouldering rubble.
The exact cause of the inferno isn't yet clear.
Russian media reports suggest the hostel was shut down after an official commission ruled it was in a dangerous condition.
The reports say the power supply was cut off but the squatters reconnected it with makeshift wiring.
Fires in old buildings are not unusual in Russia, particularly in winter when heaters are being used.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered checks on schools, hostels and other buildings nationwide after a fire at a retirement home in January killed 23 people.
Paul Chapman, Reuters