New images from inside the deadly Russian shopping mall blaze show the true devastation of what happened, as it emerged that one shop managed to survive completely in tact.
The fire, which happened on Friday (December 9) started inside the OBI store at the Mega Khimki retail part in Moscow, and covered an area around 1,800m by 1,800m.
Development work was taking place inside the store, which is why any form of fire warning system had been turned off.
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The building’s structural features and a large combustible load complicated efforts to extinguish the fire,” Russia ’s Emergency Situations Ministry said in a social media update a few hours after the blaze took hold.
It first claimed that the blaze reached 250 metres by 250 metres, but an emergency services source then said it had spread to take over the whole shopping centre.
Eyewitnesses say they heard explosions, adding that first, the roof caught alight before the blaze spread through the building.
"The building’s roof has caught fire. [The total affected] area is 250 square metres. The blaze was classified as a category three fire [on a scale of five]," a spokesperson said.
Dramatic footage making the rounds online revealed the size of the flames.
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It later emerged that the fire alarms were turned off shortly before the blaze due to ongoing construction work inside the building, where security guard Sergey Smurov.
He died at the scene.
In a further, slightly strange and miraculous update, local Russian media is now reporting that just one store managed to survive the blaze without any damage at all.
Inside the OBI store was a small flower shop, housed inside a greenhouse.
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Flames were seen just a few metres from it, but it is being claimed that the greenhouse structure – made of glass and metal – managed to save it from certain destruction.
No images have been released to the public of the unaffected greenhouse, but others of the inside of the building show just how bad the blaze was.
Twisted metal and destroyed internal structures can be seen throughout the entire store, which makes it all the more baffling that one small part of it actually managed to survive.
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A police and fire investigation as to what caused the massive fire remains ongoing, and another man named only as Dzhanik has not yet been found.
He was belived to have been working as a CCTV operator at the time.
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