A major fire broke out in a warehouse belonging to the Russian online retailer Wildberries in the Russian Baltic Sea metropolis of St. Petersburg. On Saturday afternoon, the fire covered an area of around 70,000 square meters, as the Russian Civil Defense announced on Telegram. Videos online showed thick columns of gray smoke rising into the sky. According to official information, there should be no deaths or injuries. More than 280 firefighters were involved in the extinguishing work.
According to initial estimates from experts, the damage to the well-known Russian online mail order company Wildberries, which owns the warehouse in the south of St. Petersburg, could amount to up to 20 billion rubles (210 million euros). The cause of the fire was initially unknown.
Almost nine percent of Wildberries' deliveries were shipped from the warehouse, state news agency Ria Novosti quoted online shipping expert Anton Bestugin as saying. The company is owned by Russia's richest woman Tatyana Bakalchuk and is one of the country's largest online marketplaces. Bakalschuk founded the company in 2004 together with her husband, IT technician Wladislaw Bakalschuk.
Fires are relatively common in Russia, which is due to outdated infrastructure or non-compliance with safety standards.