Fire breaks out at mall in central town of Qalansawe; fears of building collapse

A large fire broke out on Saturday at the Z Center shopping mall in the

A large fire broke out on Saturday at the Z Center shopping mall in the central Israel town of Qalansawe.

Officials were said to be concerned the entire building could collapse, as video from the scene showed heavy black smoke billowing from the roof of the retail complex.

Approximately an hour after the first reports of the blaze, the top floor of the building caved in.

Firefighters had already moved away from the building at the time of the partial collapse, and were attempting to distinguish the flames from a distance.

Eyewitnesses said the shopping mall was crowded with visitors when the fire started, however emergency services said nobody remained trapped or unaccounted for in the building.

One police officer was lightly injured while assisting with evacuation efforts, and two people received treatment on the scene for smoke inhalation. Four others were also lightly hurt, taking the casualty toll to seven.

A Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson said the fire began on the second floor of the mall before spreading to the first floor.

Fire services reportedly initially struggled to reach the scene due to heavy congestion in the area. Police urged the public to stay away from the area.

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