A huge warehouse belonging to “Russia’s Amazon” that burned down last weekend was uninsured, according to reports.

Videos posted on social media on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 13, showed a huge fire engulfing the Wildberries warehouse building in the village of Shushary, near St. Petersburg.

Wildberries is the largest Russian online retailer.

The Ministry of Emergency Situations reported that the fire had taken more than a day to extinguish, and the building was completely destroyed along with its contents.

The Russian business news site RBC reported on Thursday that the warehouse was uninsured, quoting two sources from the Russian insurance market: “The company discussed concluding an insurance contract with one of the large insurance companies shortly before the fire, but it never came to the point of signing.

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A representative of one major insurance company claimed that only the goods were insured, but not the building.

A Wildberries representative said that they could not “disclose information about property insurance within the framework of existing contractual relationships.” The company did not specify what kind of agreements they were talking about, but insisted that the burned goods, which effectively still belonged to the retailer’s partners, were insured.

The warehouse complex stood in around 17 hectares of land and had a total area of 112,000 square meters, part of which was still under construction, which had begun in 2021 at a total cost of 3.3 billion rubles ($34 million).

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When the warehouse was built, it was claimed to be the largest in the region.

At the time of the fire, 1,200 people were on site at the facility, but there were no casualties or injuries. Experts estimated the amount of damage from the fire at upwards of 10 billion rubles ($100 million).

Another Russian news site, 78.ru, quoted a spokesperson for Russia’s Department of Control and Supervision of Construction, Gosstroynadzor, who said that the warehouse had not officially been accepted into operation and, as a result, had not yet been subject to the legally required fire inspections.

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The Investigative Committee of the Ministry of Emergency Situations had opened an investigation into the possible illegal, uncertified use of the warehouse as well as the causes of the fire.

78.ru also reported on Tuesday that a group of youths had broken into the warehouse site that same day, despite the continued danger of collapse. When challenged and detained said they were in search of finding “something interesting.” Local police said they were “looters” and charges could follow.

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