Fire ripped through a shopping center in Tatarstan, roughly 500 miles from Moscow, leaving at least five people dead and another 25 or more missing. Today, the burning rubble of the mall was combed through by Russian rescue workers looking for bodies or survivors still unaccounted for.
Unfortunately, Igor Panshin, director of the the emergency situations minister of Russia said that any hope of finding survivors has dashed. The three-story shopping mall, once a popular place to go, was virtually destroyed.
In a formal statement, Panshin said the roof of the shopping center had collapsed, trapping people inside the inferno. The majority of people still not found are employees who worked at mall and people who have not yet been in contact with family members.
It took nearly 500 police officers, as well as riot police to seal the building off from the public, primarily because shop owners became panicked and tried to force their way past the security cordon in an effort to salvage merchandise. While the mall was burning, television cameras were able to capture black plumes of smoke coming from the building.
In addition to the five dead and 25 missing, there were approximately 55 additional people who suffered injuries. However, things could have been much worse considering that police were able to rescue 650 shoppers from the fire before it engulfed the 43,000 square foot structure.
According to prosecutors of Tatarstan, the head of the company that rented the shopping mall should be arrested because he failed to get people evacuated properly. The seriousness of the crime has been turned over to the Investigative Committee, which will conduct a thorough investigation.
Rubble is still being cleared away from the destroyed shopping malls but as to how long it will take to recover additional victims remains unknown. After all, the structure will need to be stabilized first to prevent a second tragedy.