— A fire at a printing warehouse in northern Moscow that killed at least 17 migrant workers on Saturday was triggered by a faulty electrical lamp, officials said.
The fire started around 7 a.m. in the warehouse’s first-floor loading zone and quickly climbed an elevator shaft to the fourth floor, where around 30 workers were finishing their night shift.
Firefighters arrived five minutes after receiving a call and extinguished the fire within two hours. They rescued at least 12 people, but also found 16 bodies.
Many workers were trapped in a remote room of the building, and the firefighters had to destroy a wall to reach them, the state-run Rossiya 24 news channel reported.
Five people were hospitalized, and one of them, a 20-year-old woman, later died.
Video from the scene showed a gray Soviet-era warehouse covered in black soot. A sobbing woman, standing in front of the building, said she had lost her 18-year-old daughter in the blaze.
Most of the warehouse’s workers were from Kyrgyzstan
, a Central Asian country
, and were legally permitted to work in Russia
“All victims are young women,” Abdygani Shakirov, a representative of Kyrgyz immigrants in Moscow, told the Interfax news agency.
“Most of them came to Moscow to earn money,” he said. “They were in a changing room and could not get out. The smoke has cut off the exit for them.”
Mayor Sergei S. Sobyanin of Moscow expressed his condolences in a Twitter post.
The warehouse was last inspected in 2012, and no safety code violations were found at the time, Rossiya 24 reported. The building was equipped with working smoke detectors, firefighters said.
The Investigative Committee, Russia’s federal policing agency, said it would open a criminal investigation into the cause of the fire.
In January, 12 people, including 10 migrant workers, died in a fire at another warehouse in Moscow.