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Inferno engulfs warehouse of Russian e-commerce giant (VIDEO)

Facility’s employees are reportedly alleging that the Wildberries storage center may have been set on fire deliberately

A warehouse in Saint Petersburg belonging to Wildberries, one of Russia’s leading online retailers, has been destroyed in a major blaze, the Emergencies Ministry has said. No major casualties have been reported so far, authorities say.

The fire at the storage facility, which spans across 112,000 square meters in Shushary, an area of Russia’s second-largest city, started on Saturday morning and quickly spread across the building, reports say.

Video footage from the scene that has been circulating on social media captured apocalyptic footage, with the warehouse engulfed in flames and a massive cloud of thick, black smoke rising from the complex.

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Some 270 firefighters and 57 units of special equipment were deployed to tackle the blaze, which had been formally ascertained to present the highest-difficulty Level Five, according to the emergency services.

After three hours, the fire was contained to an area of 70,000 square meters. Firefighters succeeded in preventing the inferno from reaching the facility’s electrical substation or its truck parking lot, authorities have also reported.

So far there’ve been no official reports of any casualties. Telegram channels have relayed claims, however, that at least several people had been wounded, with one person believed to be missing.

Shot’s Telegram channel said that, when the fire started, there were around 1,800 employees at the warehouse, who evacuated the building in a state of panic.

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A source from within the emergency services claimed in a comment to TASS that a fault in the complex’s electric wiring is considered to have been the preliminary cause of the blaze. The fire alarm was allegedly switched off at the facility following several false activations in previous days, the source added.

However, Wildberries employees, including members of the warehouse’s administration, have told Life that arson could be a reason for the costly destruction.

The sources that spoke to Life have suggested that torching the storage facility may have been a retaliatory act linked to a major brawl between migrant workers that occurred outside the facility midweek. Knives had been employed by rival fighters, with a Wildberries employee hospitalized in critical condition after the incident.


READ MORE: Major strike hits ‘Russia’s Amazon’

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The All-Russian Insurance Association told Gazeta.ru that damage from the fire could reach up to 11 billion roubles (around $126 million). Wildberries has already announced that wholesalers will be compensated for their destroyed goods.

January 13, 2024 at 07:55PM
RT

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