MOSCOW — A massive blaze swept Monday through the southwestern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, leaving scores of people injured and burning dozens of houses, officials said.

The fire that erupted at a wooden house in the center of Rostov-on-Don, a city of 1.1 million, quickly engulfed neighboring buildings. Desperate residents rushed to contain it before fire teams arrived.

About 2,000 firefighters backed by several helicopters worked for hours to contain the blaze, which destroyed more than 80 houses. Emergency officials said 45 people were injured, and seven of them were hospitalized.

Russian media cited residents alleging that the fire could have been set by arsonists at the behest of local real estate developers who were eager to obtain prized land in the city center. The regional governor and local prosecutors promised to investigate the claim.

Gov. Vasily Golubev said local residents had previously reported receiving threats, according to the Interfax news agency.

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