At least 5 dead in massive shopping mall blaze in Russia

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At least five people have died in a shopping center in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, where a huge fire broke out Sunday. Emergency services are still working to rescue others trapped inside the building.

The fire broke out on Sunday afternoon local time. Rescuers have managed to get some 120 people out so far, according to the regional emergencies ministry.

Three women, one man and a child died in the incident, the Russian Investigative Committee said on its Telegram channel. Earlier, the committee’s spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said that three children and one woman who were in the mall’s playroom were presumed dead.

Meanwhile, 30 people were taken to local hospitals, the committee added.

In addition, some 200 animals of 25 species that lived in the mall’s petting zoo are feared to be dead. “I think they died of suffocation, because I was the last to leave and there were no other people left in the zoo,” the facility director Evgeniy Videman told TASS. “There was thick smoke on the third floor, people were leaving in panic by a side ladder. There was no chance to get the animals out,” he added.

Pictures circulating on social media show plumes of smoke rising from the building. One of the videos from the site shows a desperate person jump out of a fourth floor window emitting thick black smoke.

The blaze has engulfed some 1,500 square meters so far, but was stopped from spreading further. A large part of the roof has collapsed, TASS reported citing a source in the emergency services. More than 210 rescuers and 48 units of equipment are deployed at the site.

A state of emergency has been declared in the Kemerovo region, Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said.