A MASSIVE fire has ripped through one of the largest shopping malls near Moscow leaving one person dead, in a suspected arson attack.
The blaze broke out in the Mega shopping centre in Khimki near the Russian capital leading to the collapse of part of the structure.
The huge blaze early today engulfed one of Moscow’s major shopping malls which includes the original IKEA store in Russia.
Early Russian reports said an explosion had preceded the collapse of structures in the building.
Powerful explosions were heard at the scene,” reported Life news outlet.
An initial report by TASS official news agency said: “An explosion occurred in the OBI hypermarket at the Mega Khimki shopping mall, followed by a collapse.”
As the blaze spread further explosions were heard from the OBI retailer – a DIY giant – with aerosols and paints reportedly igniting in the inferno.
An account on a local online community stating: “What was the rumble near Mega?”
“It was a bang at Mega, there's fire. Oh f***, it was shaking as if it was an earthquake.”
“I woke up from the noise. My bed on the 8th floor was trembling.”
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Authorities said one person died in the fire who was reportedly trapped inside an annex to the mall.
Russian officials believe the source of the explosion was inside the building, with the first emergency call at 5:58 am local time.
When firefighters arrived at the scene 20 minutes later, much of the shopping centre was on fire.
One unconfirmed version said the inferno started due to welding work inside the building.
Russia's Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said it was looking into the cause of the fire.
The head of the Moscow region's emergency services agency said it appeared the blaze was the result of safety regulations being violated during repair work on the building.
The IKEA store has been closed since soon after Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
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