WATCH UPDATE: Massive fire destroys Moscow shopping centre authorities not ruling out arson

Moscow fire - Credit Video Kommersant

07:46 (December 9) – The Russian news site TVZVesda has said that the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Moscow Region has opened a criminal case in the shopping centre fire.

While it is still unclear as to what caused the fire, the Committee said that the centre did not meet safety requirements. According to the report, the failure to meet the required standards had contributed to the extent of the blaze, as it had the difficulties fire fighters faced in trying to extinguish the flames in the Khimki shopping centre.

Forensic teams will begin their investigations as soon as it is safe to enter the facility.

07:31 (December 9) – A fire has broken out in a shopping centre on the road from Moscow to St. Petersburg, with emergency services on the scene working to extinguish the flames. 

According to Russian news site Kommersant the fire began in the OBI hypermarket early this morning spreading across the 18,000 square metre facility. 

Fire fighters continue to battle the flames, with efforts hampered by the design of the shopping centre as well as the roof which has collapsed. Some 5,000 square metres of the roof has fallen in so far with more expected to collapse the longer the fire continues. 

So far one person has been reported dead, however the emergency services do not know who was in the building at the time. They also do not know what caused the fire but that chemicals and aerosols sold by the OBI store had exploded spreading the flames. 

The Ministry of Emergency Situations told Interfax that a short circuit in the power grid could have been responsible for starting the fire, but they have not ruled out arson.

The authorities have started an investigation into the fire at the Moscow shopping centre that has destroyed the entire 18,000 square metre facility. 

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Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]