A fire that broke out in one of Moscow’s markets in the south of the capital has killed 17 people, believed to be migrant workers.
The disaster was thought to have been started by a faulty electrical heater that caught fire, triggering the blaze.
It took almost two hours to extinguish the inferno.
The migrant workers killed in fire were from former Soviet republics and were believed to be camped out at Kachalovsky market warehouse in squalid living conditions.
Moscow police have launched an investigation into the incident and have detained the market owner on charges of breaching fire safety regulations. Law enforcers are searching for two more people – the owner and the director of a tenant company that rented the premises at the market.
According to the Russian Federal Migration Service the men who died were likely to have worked as porters at market.
An official told Russian news agency Interfax that the victims of the blaze lived in a metal warehouse lined with insulation. They slept in very cramped conditions on bunks with no direct access to the street.
While news agency livenews.ru reports that according to experts from Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations the victims perished while trying to escape from the warehouse.
They were reportedly unable to reach the door because of the fire and could not get out of the windows as they were blocked with metal bars.
In a separate incident during the night, a fire tore through one of Moscow’s tallest skyscrapers. Twenty brigades of firemen battled the blaze in the giant building, still under construction and set to be the highest in Europe when finished.
Russia’s Emergencies Ministry sent two helicopters to the scene to help bring the blaze under control.
No injuries or casualties were reported.