Russian store fire kills almost 20 people

At least 19 people have been killed by fire in a store in the northern Russian city of Ukhta. According to the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov, more 17 people were wounded.

The fire was supposedly caused by a detonated gas-cylinder in a two-storied building, reports PRAVDA.Ru. The local prosecutor's office said that the fire appeared to have broken out after a keg of inflammable liquid was thrown into the store and could be the result of a business conflict, the Interfax news agency reported.

Vadim Zhuravlev, a duty officer at the Komi regional department of the Russian Interior Ministry, earlier said the fire had raced through a store selling gas fireplaces, and that eight people had died of smoke inhalation, reports the AP.

Thirty people were evacuated safely from the building, Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Irina Andriyanova said.

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