Eight people were found guilty on Friday of criminal negligence in the case of the Binagadi district building fire, a blaze which tore through a block of flats in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku in May 2015, killing 15 people and injuring 50.
The building caught fire in a matter of seconds despite its 16 stories, according to witnesses.
The subsequent investigation into the causes of the fire has revolved around the use of a highly flammable plastic, polyurethane, as the building’s insulation.
The material is a popular choice for insulation but strict guidelines must be followed during construction in order to prevent the possibility of a fire.
Miryusif Mahmudov, head of Global Construction, the company responsible for the Binagadi building, was found guilty of violating fire safety rules, as well as of abuse of authority.
The Baku Grave Crimes court sentenced Mahmudov to eight years of imprisonment. His deputy, Alekper Askerov, was sentenced to four years. The director of Global Stone, the supplier of materials for the building’s construction, received a five year sentence.
The court will seek to confiscate property from Mahmudov and all others accused with a total value of 8.7 million manat, with the aim of compensating the State for damages incurred.
Binagadi District Housing Association director Adalat Rajabov and chief of Housing and Communal Services n.72 Nizami Orujov were also handed down sentences by the court for negligence and corruption.
The insulation material had been reviewed prior to its use in the construction of the Binagadi block by the test laboratory of the Darnagul Pipe Plant. Its director, Aghajavad Mammadov, has been charged with abuse of authority and with forgery and abuse of authority.