According to reports from Russia’s Ministry of Emergencies, a massive fire has swept through a large shopping complex on the outskirts of Moscow, taking the life of at least one person.
Explosions could be seen on video footage taken during the blaze at the enormous Mega Khimki mall.
Investigations are currently being conducted to determine whether or not the fire was started intentionally, but it is believed that an electrical malfunction was the most likely reason.
Before the invasion of Ukraine in February, the shopping centre had been home to large Western retail establishments, but those businesses have now left.
Early on Thursday morning, a fire broke out on the top of the OBI superstore located within the complex. At one point, the area that was affected by the fire was 18,000 square metres (194,000 sq ft).
Firefighters were quoted in the Russian media as saying that it had been limited to an area of 7,000 square metres by the time it was 08:30 in Moscow time (05:30 GMT).
Two hours later, an official from the Ministry of Emergencies reported that what he referred to as the “open fire” had been extinguished.
According to the firefighters, the collapse of the facility was triggered by at least one explosion that occurred at OBI, which sells items related to home and garden renovation. The explosions are believed to have been triggered by the explosion of paint cans and aerosol cans.
The Russian Investigative Committee has begun looking into the incident as a possible criminal matter. It is estimated that the incident caused losses in the range of $320 million to $480 million (£261 million to £390 million).
As of the summer, the German hardware chain OBI had sold all of its shops in Russia, which included 27 superstores. As a result, the business is no longer owned by OBI.
A Russian-born German-Israeli billionaire named Josef Liokumovich purchased a 60% stake in the company for about $10 (£8).