Moscow fire: One person dead in huge blaze at shopping centre

Images and video shared on social media showed the huge blaze. (Twitter)
Images and video shared on social media showed the huge blaze. (Twitter)

Firefighters in Russia are battling a huge blaze at one of the largest shopping malls in the country, which has left at least one person dead.

The fire spread over an area of around 7,000 sq m (75,000 sq ft) at a huge shopping and entertainment complex in Khimki in the suburbs of Moscow.

Initial reports suggested that the blaze was caused by arsonists but later officials are believed to have said it was more likely to have been caused by safety violations during repair work to the building.

One person is reported to have died so far, with Sergey Poletykin, head of the Emergency Ministry’s branch in the capital, telling media the victim was a security guard.

One person is believed to have died in the fire at the shopping centre. (Twitter)
One person is believed to have died in the fire at the shopping centre. (Twitter)

Videos posted on social media show the huge blaze, with people fleeing the burning building into the car park.

Others show what appears to be a secondary explosion.

Emergency services said the fire, at the "Mega" shopping centre, led to the collapse of part of the structure, which complicated firefighters' efforts to douse the flames.

Social media posts included speculation over the cause of the fire, which is believed to have started at 6am Moscow time.

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A total of 141 firefighters and 47 fire engines were reported to have been involved in fighting the blaze, but officials suggested that their efforts were hampered due to the design of the building.

Flames reportedly spread to an area of 18,000 square metres (around 194,000 sq ft), but was later reportedly reduced to an area of ​​7,000 square metres (75,350sq ft).

Mega had been home to a large number of Western retail chains before the companies' departure from Russia in the wake of the Ukraine conflict.