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Fire ravages Moscow research center, at least 8 reported dead

So far it is not clear what caused the fire, but local media reported that the Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal investigation.

Firefighters work to extinguish the fire at the Platan Research Institute building in Fryazino, Russia.Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations / AFP

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A huge fire has engulfed the building reportedly belonging to the Platan Research Institute, located in the city of Fryazino, in the Moscow region. It is a research center that develops radioelectronic systems for the Russian Defense Ministry.

Regional Governor Andrei Vorobyov told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti that three of the building's floors were engulfed in flames.

According to The Telegraph, two people jumped from the upper floors of the building that were engulfed in flames and at least six other people died trapped in the building.

According to the Russian Civil Defense Ministry, the fire spread between the fifth and eighth floors. A blocked staircase prevented many of those above the fire from evacuating, it added. Officials reported that 16 ambulance crews were working at the scene and two firefighters were receiving medical treatment.

Regarding the building's purpose, there is contradictory information, BBC notes. Russian state holding company Ruselectronics maintained that it was occupied by a privately owned electronics company, but media outlets report that Platan Research Institute was based in the building.

So far it is unclear what caused the fire, but the Tass news agency reported that the Russian investigative committee has opened a criminal investigation.

This is a developing story.