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Dozens of Firefighters Battle Blaze at Historic Moscow Conservatory

Moscow Conservatory

Nearly 100 firefighters battled overnight to extinguish a blaze at the historic Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, the regional branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

The blaze broke out shortly after midnight, and firefighters were on the scene within five minutes of receiving the call, the statement said.

Thirty-five people were evacuated from the conservatory, as 92 fireman battled to bring the blaze under control, the ministry said, adding that there were no casualties.

The fire, which covered an area of 70 square meters, was extinguished just under three hours after it broke out, the ministry said. Preliminary information suggests the blaze was triggered by a cigarette butt, an unidentified law enforcement source told RIA Novosti.

The conservatory's main hall was not damaged in the fire, the Izvestia newspaper reported Tuesday, while the ministry has yet to make public the full cost of the damages from the fire.

Renovation work is currently being carried out at the music conservatory, one of the oldest in Russia, having been founded in 1866.

The Moscow department of cultural heritage is considering whether to pursue a criminal case against the construction company for violating protocol when working on protected sites, Interfax reported.

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