A huge fire ravaged one of the largest shopping malls in the Moscow area early Friday morning, killing one person and collapsing part of the building.
Videos show thick black smoke billowing from the blaze, which authorities said covered an area of about 75,000 square feet, according to Reuters.
Russian state news agency Tass reported that the fire started in a “hypermarket” retail store, where exploding paint cans, varnishes and other materials triggered the roof’s collapse. One video posted on Twitter appeared to show a large explosion during the fire.
Tass reported that the fire was contained several hours after it was first reported and that only the frame of the building now remains. The wreckage is clearly shown in a video posted on Telegram by the Moscow region’s investigative committee.
The person killed was one of two security workers who first noticed the fire, Newsweek reported. The guard was killed in the mall’s parking lot when part of the building fell on his head, according to Newsweek.
The fire took place in MEGA Khimki, a large mall less than an hour outside Moscow. The two-story mall opened in 2004 and has 200 shops, according to its website. It hosted many Western retail stores until those companies pulled out amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported.
Russia’s major crimes committee is investigating the cause of the fire, Reuters reported. The head of emergency services in the Moscow region said it appeared to result from safety violations during repair work.
Newsweek also reported that a source told Russian news outlet Interfax arson is considered a possibility.
“Various versions are being considered, including technical ones, a short circuit in the power grid. Deliberate actions, that is, arson, are also being considered,” Interfax’s source said.