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Luxury skyscraper hotel completely engulfed by fire in Grozny, Chechnya (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
Flames have enveloped all floors of the highest building in the North Caucasus, southern Russia. All people have managed to leave the building. The Grozny-city complex in the Chechen Republic includes luxury apartments and a 5-star hotel.
he local emergency service said the call about the fire on between the 4th and 5th floors was received at around 18:00 PM local time (14:00 GMT).
According to witnesses’ pictures that immediately started to appear on Twitter, all stories of the building are covered with flames.
At the same time there have been reports suggesting that the fire started on the top floor and the bottom floor was on fire as well.
All people have managed to leave the the 145-meter skyscraper ; one woman was seen to be supported by others, witnesses said. Local police confirmed no one was injured.
Fire units and ambulances have arrived at the scene. Nearly 300 people are involved in extinguishing the fire. The area around the Grozny-City complex has been cordoned off.
In two hours the fire has completely engulfed three sides of the skyscraper from the top to bottom as the flames spread rapidly due to the plastic trimming on the building. It has also reached the world's largest clock face, located near the apex of the building.
Firefighters have managed to extinguish the flames on the lower floors. However, the fire has spread very quickly, making it difficult to tackle the blaze from the ground. Helicopters have been sent from the southern city of Pyatigorsk to help out, but have not received the go-ahead for lift-off.
"We are ready, but the helicopters won't be able to maneuver between the buildings, which are packed tight," said emergency ministry official Aleksandr Barsuk.
A criminal case has been launched in connection to the violation of fire safety rules. According to the initial version the cause of the fire was a short circuit, LifeNews tabloid reported citing a local police source.
“According to preliminary information, the cause of the fire in the skyscraper was a short circuit. A more concise report will be done after experts examine the building,” the source told the tabloid.
In the burning skyscrapers called “Olympus” is an apartment belonging to French film star and tax exile Gerard Depardieu. LifeNews tabloid reports local administration confirmed the Frenchman’s apartment is on the 27th floor, facing the so-called “heart of Grozny”- central mosque.
“The fire has completely enveloped the right-hand side of the skyscraper. Both the wall and the window of the actor’s apartment have been damaged,” the tabloid quoted a local police source as saying.