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Fire devastates Södertälje shopping centre

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15:21 CET+01:00
By 5 p.m. on Wednesday firemen had completed their search of a six-storey building that caught fire in central Södertälje, south of Stockholm, earlier in the day.

Nobody was found on the premises but it is not yet fully certain that everybody in the building managed to get out in time. Two people have sustained smoke-related injuries.

At 1.13 p.m. on Wednesday the alarm sounded when a fire broke out in a warehouse attached to a Lindex clothes shop.

Fire services evacuated the Lunagallerian shopping centre and three cinemas. They also requested a number of shops on Storgatan to close.

"We think the fire started in a warehouse in the basement or on the ground floor.

"There are six floors in the building and they are completely filled with smoke.

"Things moved very fast and we are still not sure whether everybody managed to get out," said fire engineer Lars-Göran Uddholm at 2.15 p.m.

Approximately 60 firemen from 8 different stations worked through the afternoon to try to put out the fire. By 5 p.m emergency services had located the source of the blaze in the Lindex warehouse.

"All of the building has been searched, apart from the Lindex shop, which is still burning," said Uddholm at 5 p.m.

According to SOS Alarm, a number of ambulances and one air ambulance were dispatched to the scene.

One fireman was taken out of the smoke-filled premises on a stretcher having suffered minor injuries.

A woman suffering from asthma called an ambulance when she had difficulty breathing after returning home from the burning shopping centre.

Thick smoke made it difficult for rescue workers to search the building, which covers an area of 60,000 square metres.

Although nobody has been reported missing, rescue workers have not ruled out the possibility that victims of the fire may have remained trapped inside the Lindex shop.

The job of putting out the fire is expected to continue through the evening.

"We have localised the fire. The problem is that it is in a warehouse approximately 75 metres inside the building and is difficult to get to," said Uddholm.

By 5 p.m only the burning building and a nearby pedestrian street were still cordoned off.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

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