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At least eight people have died after a fire ripped through a former Russian defence research building near Moscow.

The incident took place at what is reported to be the former Russian electronics research institute in the city of Fryazino on Monday, the state-run TASS news agency reports.

Two people are said to have jumped to their deaths, while six others perished in the fire as they were unable to escape.

More than 130 firefighters and 50 fire engines attended the scene to tackle the blaze, with much of it being "localised" by 8pm local time.

According to eyewitness reports, the fire had started on the fifth floor, before spreading to the seventh, in the eight-storey building.

Black smoke engulfed the building and flames roared up its walls.

There are conflicting reports about the building's purpose, once being the home of the Platan Research Institute and defence industry, according to TASS.

Regional Governor Andrey Vorobyov said that a 34-year-old man had been taken to hospital in a serious condition, while two firefighters were also being treated for injuries sustained in the blaze.

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Local emergency services said the man was the only person rescued from the blaze.

Video footage released by the Russian Emergency Ministry showed helicopters also rushing to the scene to battle the inferno.

The Ministry said that the interior structures of the building collapsed and an explosion was heard as gas cannisters exploded.

"The extinguishing operation is complicated by the presence of gas-air mix canisters inside the building," the Ministry's press office said to TASS news agency.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire.

Vorobyov added that a criminal case has been opened and prosecutors are investigating what sparked the blaze.

The building is located about 15.5 miles northeast of Moscow and is shared by a number of different companies.

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