Two die in Russia shopping mall fire

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Moscow, Jan 23 (IANS/RIA Novosti) At least two people died and five were injured Saturday night when a fire broke out in a shopping centre in Russia’s southwestern republic of Bashkiria, officials said.

The bodies of a young woman and a man were discovered in the five-storey Europa centre in the capital city of Ufa. Five people were injured, and two of them are in a serious condition, said Artyom Valeyev, spokesman for the republic presidency.

The fire occurred during rush hour when the restaurants and shops were crowded. The blaze spread across an area of 1,200 square metres and badly damaged the building.

The cause of the blaze was yet to be established. According to officials, it may have been caused due to three reasons - short circuit, careless handling of fire and violation of fire safety rules.

Valeyev said a gas tank could have exploded in a restaurant, causing a fire. He said it is unlikely that the blaze was a result of a terror attack.

Eyewitnesses said two cars had exploded in a parking lot near the building.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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