The top floor of the building in Russia was destroyed in the fire while dozens of other flats were flooded as a result of water from firefighters in Artem.
It is being reported that a resident was illegally using the block’s electricity at the time in order to mine the cryptocurrency. A heavy power surge is said to have caused overheating of the circuits, leading to the fire. . ‘We have spotted something which looks like mining equipment,’ said a spokesman for the local division of the Emergencies Ministry. Pictures from the scene show the charred remains of some of the mining equipment.
A resident called Oleg confirmed that ‘mining rig equipment was found in the attic’. He demanded: ‘I would now ban miners totally… so many apartments are burned completely, and 30 are flooded.’
Many Russians are seeking to get rich quick though bitcoins, exploiting the country’s relatively cheap electricity. In a number of cases, ‘miners’ have broken into power supplies of residential blocks or warehouses to obtain free power, but firefighters warn this overheats electrical circuits with potentially deadly consequences. Resident Roman Vislobokov told The Siberian Times: ‘Our apartment was across the wall from the fire.
‘At first our neighbour’s attic caught fire. ‘We survived by a miracle…at about 2am my girlfriend woke me with hallucinations from carbon monoxide gas. By that time there was no electricity.
‘In the smoke and darkness we grabbed our passports, took the dog, put on our shoes and jackets – and ran. ‘For half an hour we watched as everything burned, the fire spread all over our apartment.’ A total of 5,400 square feet was destroyed or damaged by the inferno.
Separately, in secret nuclear town Sarov, the FSB secret service detained two engineers who used a government supercomputer to mine bitcoins. They flouted rules by connecting the computer to the web. ‘They were about to get some bitcoins when FSB officers intervened and shut down this illegal farm,’ according to one report.