Dramatic footage captured an explosion ripping apart the burning section of the mall
A massive fire has erupted at a large shopping center on the outskirts of the Russian capital, with local officials saying the blaze broke out at a construction retailer and risks spreading to other departments and consuming the entire mega complex.
Emergency workers responded to reports of a blaze at the Mega Khimki mall located in Moscow region just outside the nation’s capital early on Friday morning, according to the regional office of the Russian Emergencies Ministry.
By 7am the fire has grown to an area of around 7,000 square meters. At least 30 first responders are helping to fight the conflagration with nine pieces of equipment, the ministry said, adding that the fire was rated as a four out of five in terms of intensity. As the flames spread, emergency workers announced plans to use a firefighting aircraft to help extinguish the blaze.
There are no reports of casualties, though local media reports suggested people were inside the building at some point during the fire. Eye witnesses said employees at the mall were evacuated from the complex immediately, however.
Dramatic footage making the rounds online revealed the scope of the flames, with multiple clips showing at least one blast erupting inside the shopping center. Media reports stated “paints and varnishes” were stored inside one of the businesses in the mall.
Denis Andreev, a Khimki city prosecutor, has reportedly arrived at the scene to observe, while the prosecutor’s office for the broader Moscow region said it would launch a probe into the incident and its cause. It is unclear how the fire started, but officials confirmed it first erupted within OBI, a formerly German-owned home improvement retailer sold to new Russian operators earlier this year.
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