At least 17 employees died in a fire that broke out at a Moscow warehouse on Saturday morning, Russian authorities have said.
"When the fire was being put out, a room that had been cut off by the flames was discovered," TASS news agency quoted the regional branch of the Emergency Ministry's press service as saying.
"Firefighters tore down the wall and found 16 dead."
Emergency workers arrived at the scene at 0500 GMT to put out a blaze that had engulfed 200 square metres of a warehouse in an industrial zone in the Russian capital's north.
The fire at the four-floor facility, which is thought to belong to a local printing company, was extinguished at around 0700 GMT, authorities said.
The head of the Moscow branch of the Emergency Ministry, Ilya Denisov, told Russian news agencies that the victims of the fire were migrant workers from Kyrgyzstan.
An eyewitness at the scene saw about three dozen workers gathered outside the warehouse, some of whom wept as they awaited news on the people who had been in the building when the blaze broke out.
A representative of the Kyrgyz diaspora in Russia said all the dead were members of its community.
"The incident happened when people were changing shifts at the printing house. It is very hard for us," Abdygany Shakirov, the Kyrgyz representative, told media outlets.
Around 500,000 citizens of the impoverished former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan are working in Russia. The two countries belong to a Russian-dominated customs union.
Denisov said the fire was thought to have been caused by a broken lamp in a room containing large quantities of flammable liquids and paper products.
"The fire spread from the first floor through the elevator shaft to the room in which the people were killed," Interfax news agency quoted Denisov as saying.
Sobyanin also wrote on Twitter that the people injured in the blaze had been taken to a local hospital and that the city would investigate the incident.
, , , . ,
— (@MosSobyanin) August 27, 2016
"I am certain that those guilty will be found and punished," Sobyanin wrote.
The Investigative Committee, which reports directly to President Vladimir Putin, said a criminal inquiry had been launched into the deaths of 17 of the victims of the blaze.
A criminal investigation was launched to determine whether the blaze erupted due to arson or negligence.