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Urals Region Fire Damages Hundreds of Buildings, Kills Civilian

Emergency crews respond to the fire outbreak in the village of Sosva. Russian Emergencies Ministry / TASS

More than 100 homes were destroyed and one man was killed by overnight fires in the Ural Mountains region of Sverdlovsk, Russian media reported Wednesday. 

The destructive blaze started after eight railcars loaded with lumber caught fire on Tuesday evening in the village of Sosva, located around 260 kilometers northeast of the regional capital Yekaterinburg. 

A video published by Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry showed fire crews battling the blaze late into the night, while aerial photos taken Wednesday morning revealed the charred and smoking remains of several residential blocks.

Some 120 firefighters supported by 33 vehicles worked to bring the blaze under control, emergency services said on Wednesday, forcing hundreds to evacuate the area, including 240 inmates at a correctional facility.

A man was reportedly found dead as fire crews extinguished flames, while an elderly woman was said to have gone missing.

By Wednesday morning, emergency crews managed to contain the fire to an area of 9,000 square meters. 

The state-run Tass news agency reported that officials believe the blaze was started by the burning of sawdust at a local sawmill, which they said was a violation of safety regulations.

Local law enforcement officials launched a criminal investigation into the fire.

The Kremlin said Wednesday afternoon that President Vladimir Putin was “aware of the situation in Sosva” and was receiving regular updates on firefighting efforts. 

Apart from the Sosva blaze, fires broke out in several other towns in the Sverdlovsk region, all of which were started by human activities, according to officials.

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