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Huge Explosions in Russia as Fire Rages Through Khimki Shopping Mall

Newsweek
Newsweek
 2022-12-09

Huge explosions were heard in Russia on Friday morning as a massive fire ripped through a Moscow shopping mall, killing at least one.

The blaze, which spread over an area of about 18,000 square meters (194,000 square feet), broke out at about 6 a.m. local time in the Mega Khimki shopping and entertainment mall in a Moscow suburb. The structure has been almost completely destroyed.

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Firefighters are still working to contain the fire, with more than 70 people and 20 pieces of equipment involved in the effort. According to Russia's state-run news agency Tass, authorities are preparing to involve aircraft in extinguishing the blaze.

"Due to the collapse of the roof, the fire spread instantly to a large area," the Moscow region's emergency services said on Telegram.

Local resident Anna Aleksandrova told Russian news outlet Lenta that she was awoken by a huge explosion.

"We woke up from the explosion. The blast was strong," she said.

Aleksandrova, who lives opposite to the mall, added that the fire broke out immediately after she heard the blast.

According to the regional department of Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations, a security guard who worked at the shopping mall was killed when a portion of the burning building fell on his head after an explosion .

The press service of the retailer said that two employees of the mall's private security company first noticed the fire. Both were evacuated, but one died after he went back to the mall's parking lot for his car.

News agency RIA Novosti cited a source in emergency services as saying that paint cans, aerosols, and varnish products exploded during the fire.

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An Interfax source in local emergency services said arson is being considered as one of the possible causes of the fire.

"Various versions are being considered, including technical ones, a short circuit in the power grid. Deliberate actions, that is, arson, are also being considered," the source said.

According to a Tass source, the last inspection of the mall was carried out in November 2021, when authorities identified 46 fire-safety violations.

The damage from the fire is expected to reach 20 to 30 billion rubles ($320 million to $481 million), according to local media.

The fire comes just months after a huge fire ripped through a warehouse belonging to Russian e-commerce giant Ozon in the Moscow region, forcing more than 1,000 people to evacuate and causing multiple casualties.

That blaze was completely extinguished after five days.

Several mysterious blazes have been reported in Russia since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Since the war began, there have been dozens of cases of military buildings and ammunition depots catching fire. Russia has blamed some of the incidents on Ukraine, although Kyiv has denied involvement.

Newsweek has contacted Russia's foreign ministry for comment.

Do you have a tip on a world news story that Newsweek should be covering? Do you have a question about the Russia-Ukraine war? Let us know via worldnews@newsweek.com.

Comments / 200

Douglas Warner
12-09

The Russian people should prepare for a lot more of this, whether it’s Russian sabotage of Ukraine waging war, it’s going to increase in frequency until Putin ends the war.

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Dan B
12-09

No one should like loss of life, but the Russians cannot sit back and enjoy life while civilians are being bombed in the Ukraine. Sadly, this is needed to end the war.

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Bruce Moser
12-09

Russia has been attacking everything in Ukraine, it's about time the Russian people feel the same pain and maybe get rid of Putin and end this unwarranted war!

Reply(2)
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