Russia: Helicopter to Fight Moscow Skyscraper Blaze…

A firefighting helicopter has been dispatched to help put out a blaze on the 67th floor of a skyscraper under construction in Moscow.

“A Ka-32 helicopter will be deployed to extinguish the fire,” a law enforcement source told RIA Novosti.

The fire broke out just before sunset at 8:00 p.m. in the Federation Tower, which will be Russia’s tallest building at 93 floors upon completion in 2013.

A trail of thick black smoke from the blaze was visible for miles around until sunset. With the coming dark the bright red glare of the blaze itself could be seen at the very top of the unfinished building, located in Moscow City, a cluster of modern high-rise office buildings located about a kilometer from the Russian government White House.

The blaze currently covers about 300 square meters, Rossiya 24 television reported. That is up from 50 square meters reported earlier by the city emergencies ministry, but Rossiya 24 said the size of the blaze seems to be diminishing, mainly due to the efforts of the water-dumping Ka-32.

The fire is being fueled by the insulation, tarpaulins and other construction supplies and materials located on the top floors of the unenclosed structure, and is being fanned by high winds.

There have been no casualties from the fire so far, an emergencies ministry official told Rossiya 24.

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  1. MOSCOW, April 3 (Itar-Tass) — The concrete floor of the 67th storey of the unfinished Vostok tower of the Federation complex in the Moscow City business centre was deformed in the fire, a Moscow law-enforcement source said.

    Tens of square metres of the concrete floor curved down, but there is no threat of collapse, the source said.

    The fire broke out in the tower, which is under construction, at about 20:00 Moscow time on Monday. Building materials caught fire on 50 square metres on the 66th and the 67th floors, where firefighters had to walk upstairs. The blaze spread rapidly, sweeping two floors, including the outside part, where advertising boards and scaffoldings caught fire. The blaze was extinguished in four hours. Ablaze were a total of about 300 square metres.

    Because of the fire, the newly-made concrete floor of the 67th storey curved in. The concrete deformation poses no collapse threat. Rescuers and firefighters left the site after the fire was extinguished.

    Repair work is underway at the destroyed wooden formwork.

    Experts will examine the floor in the next few hours, the source said.

    As was earlier reported, the fire could be caused by the heat of a light installed on the wooden formwork.

    Twenty five crews of firemen, a total of 102 people, fought the blaze. They used special equipment. Four water-dropping helicopters, three Ka-32s and a Mi-26, participated in the operation.

    The state of the Federation business complex already was in the focus of attention of fire prevention services. Following their conclusions, Moscow courts repeatedly fined the complex owners and suspended the activities in the complex area. Last time, due to numerous violations of the fire prevention regulations, following the ruling of Moscow’s Presnensky district court, bailiffs closed the Vostok (East) and Zapad (West) towers at the complex in December 2010 for 30 days.

    In that case, on the list of violations found by the inspectors were unassembled hydrants (it was impossible for firemen to take water), unready fire alarm systems and diesel generator problems in case of electricity cutoff. The inspectors also noted that there were no accesses around for fire vehicles and no helicopter grounds.

    A specially formed firefighting team guards the Moscow City complex. The firemen have everything to extinguish fires and rescue people in high multistoried buildings.

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