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At Least 6 Killed in Fire at U.S.-Sanctioned Moscow Electronics Research Building


Updated with death toll.

At least six people died in a major fire that broke out Monday at a Moscow region research center sanctioned by the West, regional authorities said Tuesday.

Moscow region Governor Andrei Vorobyov said the fire engulfed the Platan research institute building in the town of Fryazino.

Platan, a producer of defense electronics, has been under war-related U.S. sanctions since June 2022 for producing and distributing “pigments and dyestuff” used by the military.

“Unfortunately, two people were killed in the fire in Fryazino,” Vorobyov said Monday. The following day, investigators raised the overall death toll to six.

Vorobyov said earlier on Monday that one person was evacuated and seven others may remain blocked in the building as firefighters continue battling the flames. Vorobyov said the evacuated victim was hospitalized in grave condition. 

Emergency services later that same day said they had lost contact with six people inside the building.

Local investigators announced a criminal case into death by negligence. Anonymous emergency sources cited by the state news agency RIA Novosti said the victims had jumped to their deaths.

Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said the blaze engulfed the fifth to eighth floors of the nine-story building, covering an area of 4,500 square meters.

Roselectronica, the electronics components producer that is part of the defense conglomerate Rostec, said its Platan research institute has not been based in the burning building since it became private property in the 1990s, according to the state-run TASS news agency. 

“Currently, a significant part of Platan’s premises is leased,” an anonymous emergency source was quoted as saying. “In particular, there are a recording studio, shops, communication companies, a bank, construction companies and others. The fire could have started in one of the rented premises.”

TASS claimed it spoke with an employee of one of the companies that rented a sixth-floor office in the building, Expresstechservice, who said he witnessed the fire starting there. It was not possible to independently corroborate the report.

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