Europe's tallest-to-be tower on fire: 300m skyscraper ablaze in Moscow (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
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04/03/2012 12:27 AM
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The fire engulfing Moscow's Federation Tower has been extinguished. About 300 square meters of the yet-to-be-completed skyscraper were set ablaze, but the centrally located building has been evacuated and no victims have been reported.
"Fire fighters have managed to put out the fire in the Federation Tower. They are currently watering the structure, and the Mi-26 heavy helicopter continues its work," an emergency official told Interfax.
The fire broke on the building's 67th floor (250 meters above the ground) and spread to several sections on the 66th and 65th floors.
Fourteen people working at the floors hit by the firestorm were evacuated. Authorities have expanded a cordoned-off area surrounding the building due to fears the burning floors may collapse.
The top floor was nearly completely ablaze, with the fire smoothing out and then bursting again. The wind in lower floors facilitated the fire's expansion. The huge image boards on the skyscraper's walls were ignited and threatened neighboring buildings.
The blaze could be seen from as far as ten kilometers away. Witnesses say it resembles a "fiery crown on top of the building."
Alarmed by the fire's extent, Russia's Emergencies Ministry sent two KA-226 helicopters to the scene. Twenty brigades of firemen are using hoses - before, they were using fire extinguishers. The blaze, which is reported to have started as trash and canvas catching fire, was ranked four out of five grades in terms of difficulty.
The fire's source may have been a fan used for heating asphalt bitumen that was left unwatched, an anonymous source told Interfax.
Although the building is still under construction, some offices located in the first ten floors are already in use. There are also functioning offices in the 29th floor.
There are also reports that many of the affected floors were intended to house luxury apartments.
The tower has been insured for 300 million dollars, though there have not yet been any estimates as to how much the repairs will cost.
The Federation Tower has been under construction for almost ten years now. Located in the west of Moscow, it was planned as part of Moscow City business center. Once complete, it is set to become Europe's tallest building, reaching 509 meters including the antenna.
The building will consist of two three-sided towers called "East" (243 meters high) and "West" (360 meters). The "East" part is the one that is currently on fire.
In April 2011, a construction watchdog ordered the suspension of work on the tower and revoked the contractor's license, after a number of technical and fire safety violations were detected.
The contractor, Mirax Group owned by businessman Sergey Polonsky, claimed that the Moscow authorities are inventing a pretext to take over the company's projects. Without a license, Mirax will not be able to obtain a bank loan and the construction process will be frozen. The problem was later solved.
SOURCE: [link to www.youtube.com]
Last Edited by RoXY on 04/03/2012 12:30 AM
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