A massive explosion and fire occurred in the suburbs of Moscow in OBI hypermarket of one of the largest shopping malls Mega Khimki.
The fire started at around 6 am Moscow time. According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the fire engulfed an area of 7,000 square meters. A source in emergency services, in turn, told TASS news agency that the fire affected an area of 17,000 square meters.
Due to the collapse of the roof and the instantaneous access of oxygen, strong convective currents appeared and caused the fire to spread to a large area very quickly.
A security guard of the shopping mall was killed in the fire. There were people inside the building at the time when the fire started. Eyewitnesses said that they were evacuated from the other side of the shopping mall immediately after the sound of the fire alarm.
The moment of the powerful explosion was captured on video. The blast wave sends wall and roof constructions into the air.
It was reported that the fire from the OBI hypermarket did not spread to the main part of the shopping mall.
According to emergency services, welding works were conducted in a building adjacent to the hypermarket, TASS reports.
A short circuit is believed to be one of the reasons as well.
A source at emergency services told Interfax that the fire could have occurred due to arson.
More than 70 firefighters and 20 vehicles were involved in the works to extinguish the fire.
The fire in Mega Khimki shopping mall occurred as a result of violations of safety rules during welding works, the Ministry of Emergency Situations said, reports TASS.
Nighttime welding works were carried out at OBI hypermarket to reinforce roof constructions. Contractor company Delta Stroy was in charge of the works. According to Baza Telegram channel, the works were carried out next to boiler rooms, where gas equipment and communications were located. It was probably the explosion of gas equipment in the boiler rooms that caused the fire to start.
After the closure of retail space inside the construction hypermarket, there were only employees of the private security company and a team of welders staying there. Before 9 am, they were supposed to patrol the territory and monitor the situation inside.
Incidents of confrontation between Ukrainian and Polish units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have become more frequent during the recent weeks