huge fire at a shopping centre in a Moscow suburb has resulted in the death of one person, officials have said.
Social media footage showed the Mega Khimki shopping centre in Khimki, a northern suburb of Moscow, engulfed in flames in the early hours of Friday.
Russia’s Investigative Committee said one person had been killed and that it was working to clarify if there were any other victims.
Officials initially said arson may have been involved, but later said the fire was the result of unsafe welding.
According to emergency officials, the fire spread over 7,000 square metres before it was contained, although the roof of the building partially collapsed due to extent of the blaze.
The huge blaze erupted before the mall opened its doors to customers.
More than 70 firefighters and 20 trucks were called to the site where the OBI section of the shopping centre was ablaze.
The fire was put out at approximately 7.35am GMT (10.35am local time).
“The building’s structural features and a large combustible load complicated efforts to extinguish the fire,” Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said in a social media update.
“The fire spread rapidly over a large area due to the formation of strong convection currents from the collapse of the roof and instant access to oxygen.”
A probe into the possible violation of safety rules has been launched.
The identity of the victim has not been released.