One killed in massive fire in Moscow shopping centre

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One person died Friday in a massive blaze the size of a football pitch which broke out overnight in a sprawling shopping and entertainment centre in a northern Moscow suburb.

“In the Moscow region, firefighters are putting out a fire the size of 7,000 square metres (75,300 square feet),” Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations said on Telegram.

Russian media later reported that one person had been killed in the fire at the Mega Khimki shopping centre, about seven kilometres (four miles) from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

More than 70 firefighters and 20 fire trucks were working at the site, emergency services said, adding that their work was hampered due to the design of the building.

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

Russian news agencies quoted sources in emergency services as saying that “arson” was suspected but state news agencies later quoted sources as saying that safety violations were more likely the cause.

Videos on social media showed a huge fire, with people fleeing the burning building into a parking lot.