"There are around 25 people who it has not been possible to contact," Igor Panchin, head of emergency services for the Kazan region, told RIA Novosti. "Statements have also been taken from people who were working in the shopping center," said Panchin, adding that it will take the search and rescue team at least two days to search the collapsed structure.
Vesti.ru reports that 789 firefighters, three helicopters and 137 units of equipment including fire engines and excavators have been deployed in the rescue operation at the 4,000 square meter Admiral shopping center. According to emergency services, the blaze had already reached more than 100 square meters in size before the arrival of the first firefighters at the scene.
Emergency services told the media that the fire, which is thought to have been started due to an electrical fault, quickly took hold after cafe staff tried to put it out, only making the call to the emergency services after several minutes had passed.
"The external doors were open, allowing air to circulate and the fire to spread quickly through the main building of the shopping center," said authorities, adding that their investigations so far have uncovered several fire safety violations in the building, citing in particular the low fire resistance of the metal structures, amounting to only 15 minutes of resistance.