UFA, Russia, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- A fire in a shopping center in southwestern Russia killed at least two people, local emergency officials say.
Firefighters found the bodies of a man and woman in the ruins of the Europa Center, a five-story mall in Ufa, RIA Novosti reported. At least five people were injured, although only one was still hospitalized several hours after the fire.
Ufa is the capital of Bashkortostan, a Russian republic on the west side of the Ural Mountains.
Witnesses told RIA Novosti that two cars blew up in the parking lot just before the fire broke out, but officials said the cause of the blaze had not been determined. Some local officials suggested the fire was linked to construction work on the fourth floor.
"Some witnesses heard a bang, and then the fire started," Oleg Zugeyev, an official with the emergency ministry, told ITAR-Tass.