Huge fire engulfs Russian shopping mall Mega Khimki near Moscow
A huge fire has ripped through a major shopping complex on the edge of Moscow killing at least one person on Friday, 9 December 2022, Russia's Emergencies Ministry has said. Video of the fire showed explosions at the massive Mega Khimki Mall. The head of the Russian emergencies ministry, Sergey Poletykin, reported that at least one person had been killed in the incident, with the fire put down at 10h45am (7h35 GMT). More than 70 fire fighters and 20 fire engines had been sent to the site, emergency services said.
The work was hampered due to the design of the building, which is located about 7km from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, they said. “Due to the collapse of the roof, the fire spread instantly to a large area,” the Moscow region’s emergency services said on Telegram.
The fire spread across the roof of the OBI superstore at the complex early on Thursday morning and at one point covered 18 000 square metres. By around 08h30 Moscow time (05h30 GMT) fire fighters quoted by Russian media said it had been contained to an area of 7 000 square metres.
Two hours later, an Emergencies Ministry official said what he described as the "open fire" had been put out.
At least one explosion at OBI, which sells home and garden improvement wares, caused the structure to start collapsing, fire fighters said.
The blasts are thought to have been caused by exploding aerosols and paint tins.
Arson is being investigated as a possible cause of the fire but an electrical fault is thought to be a more likely trigger.
The centre had housed major Western retail outlets, until they pulled out after February's invasion of Ukraine.
Russia's Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case into the incident. Losses from the fire have been estimated at $320m-$480m (£261m-£390m). The head of the Moscow region’s emergency services agency said it appeared the blaze was the result of safety regulations being violated during repair work on the building.
The German hardware chain OBI no longer owns the store, having sold all its Russian outlets, including 27 superstores, over the summer. A 60 percent stake was bought by Russian-born German-Israeli businessman Josef Liokumovich for just $10 (£8).
Last month, a fire killed 13 people at a bar in the city of Kostroma. A drunk man had reportedly fired a flare gun indoors but inadequate fire safety regulations caused the large number of deaths, authorities had said.
In 2018, a fire killed 60 people in a shopping mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo.
In 2009, another blaze at a nightclub in the Urals city of Perm killed 156 people.
Sources: BBC News, Al Jazeera,