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Skyscraper Burns in Central Grozny

The 145-meter Olimp residential tower burning near a mosque in the center of Grozny on Wednesday evening.

A 40-story skyscraper in the showcase Grozny City complex in the Chechen capital caught fire Wednesday evening after insulation in the uninhabited building ignited for unknown reasons, according to local emergency officials.

Video on Dozhd television showed smoke and flames billowing out of the Olimp tower, which at around 145 meters is the tallest residential high-rise in Russia outside of Moscow, according to Interfax.

No one had been injured in the blaze as of 8 p.m. Wednesday, and almost 300 emergency workers were on the scene working to extinguish it. A local emergency official told RIA-Novosti that around 30 people had been evacuated from the burning building.

An emergency official told Interfax that the fire had started around the fourth or fifth floor and that the reason for the blaze was unclear, other than that the insulation had apparently ignited.

The modern skyscraper complex is located in central Grozny, the formerly war-torn Chechen capital, which has undergone massive redevelopment after two wars in the North Caucasus republic in the last two decades.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who has taken great pride in the redevelopment efforts, did not immediately comment on the skyscraper fire. Kadyrov was traveling in the United Arab Emirates this week, including for a horse race.

According to RIA-Novosti, the Grozny City complex consists of seven skyscrapers: the 40-story Olimp residential tower, two 30-story residential buildings, two 18-story residential buildings, one 30-story five-star hotel and one 30-story office tower. Only the 40-story skyscraper had caught fire as of Wednesday evening.

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