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Huge blaze prompts massive evacuation at St. Petersburg mall (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Around 800 shoppers were forced to flee a mall in the Russian city of St. Petersburg when a massive fire broke out inside. Pictures have emerged on social media showing plumes of smoke billowing from the burning building.

One of the buildings of the popular supermarket chain, ‘Lenta,’ was engulfed by flames at around 8am local time on Saturday. The inferno raged across an area almost the size of a football field, around 5,000 square meters.

The 24-hour shop was open at the time of the incident. Tass reported that two people were injured, but this has yet to be confirmed by the emergency services.

Emergency services told the media that the fire may have started on the roof of the building, which subsequently collapsed.

Locals took to social media to share dramatic pictures and footage of the blaze. Plumes of thick, black smoke could be seen from various parts of the city.

More than 50 firefighters were sent to battle the fire and managed to bring it under control in around two hours. There is no threat to any other buildings in the area.

Russian shopping centers and public places have been subject to special control and additional checks since tragedy struck at a mall in the western Siberian city of Kemerovo in March. The incident – considered to be the worst of its kind in the country for many years – claimed the lives of 60 people in Kemerovo, the majority of whom were children.

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