Fire engulfs Kazakhstan skyscraper
Firefighters in the Kazakh capital Astana were on Tuesday battling to put out a blaze at a 32-storey skyscraper dubbed the “cigarette lighter”.
Flames and smoke could be seen pouring out of the building, which houses the ex-Soviet Central Asian state’s transport and communications ministry.
Employees were earlier evacuated from the 130m skyscraper, the country’s tallest building apart from a decorative tower.
Two firefighters were injured by falling glass and a young woman was treated for smoke inhalation next to the building, which locals call the “cigarette lighter” due to its shape.
The emergency situations ministry said the flames had begun to die down by early evening.
Chalbai Kulmakhanov of the emergency situations ministry added that “all documents and other materials are intact”.
But an Agence France-Presse reporter on the scene saw burning paper falling from the upper floors of the building.
Firefighters entered the building and began trying to put out the fire after their ladders and hoses failed to reach the blaze from ground level.
Fiery debris falling from the upper floors earlier threatened to spread the blaze throughout the building.
There was no immediate information on the cause of the blaze, which Kulmakhov said began on the 27th floor of the building.
The emergency situations ministry said the alarm system had worked and that the 1 000 people working in the building had been successfully evacuated.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev moved the country’s capital north from Almaty to Astana in the centre of the country in 1997.
There has been a construction boom in the city, which is held up as a symbol of the oil-rich country’s rapid economic growth.—AFP.