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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

20 Dead, 17 Injured in Ukhta Fire

ReutersFirefighters examining the store after the fierce blaze in Ukhta on Monday.
A store fire in the northern city of Ukhta killed 20 people and injured another 17 on Monday, emergency officials said.

Rossia state television reported that women and children were among the victims.

Thirty people were evacuated safely from the building, Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Irina Andriyanova said.

Vadim Zhuravlev, a duty officer at the Komi regional department of the Interior Ministry, said earlier that fire had raced through a store selling gas fireplaces.

The local prosecutor's office said that the fire appeared to have broken out after a container of inflammable substance was thrown into the store and could be the result of a business conflict, Interfax reported. Two youths were being sought in connection with the apparent arson, officials said.

The second floor collapsed and the building was still on fire several hours after the blaze began, with 70 firefighters trying to douse the flames, according to the Emergency Situations Ministry.