Russian emergency services battle huge fire at Moscow shopping centre

At least one death confirmed in blaze that has spread over 1.8 hectares in northern suburb of the capital

The Mega Khimki shopping centre in Moscow. An explosion was reported at the mall after a fire broke out.
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Emergency teams in Russia are battling a huge fire that broke out early on Friday at a shopping centre in Moscow.

The state-run Tass news agency said the fire was apparently started by a short circuit, which triggered an explosion at the Mega Khimki shopping centre in a northern district of the capital.

One death has been confirmed so far, said Sergey Poletykin, Moscow head in the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

However, authorities are looking into whether it could be a case of arson, Interfax news agency reported.

The blaze, which broke out around 6am, has spread over 1.8 hectares, Tass said.

Sixty people died, most of them children, in a 2018 fire at a shopping centre in Kemerovo, sparking protests in Siberia. The blaze was caused by a short circuit in a children's play area.

Eight people, including fire safety and mall chiefs, were handed lengthy prison sentences over the incident.

Investigators said the public security system had been turned off and illegal exits blocked at the Winter Cherry shopping centre, trapping shoppers inside.

Updated: December 09, 2022, 7:04 AM