Prosecutor's Office Hit By Blaze




Fire ravaged the top floor of a building housing the Timiryazevsky region prosecutor's office and the criminal investigation division of Moscow's northern region Tuesday afternoon.


One person received burns on his hands, but there were no other serious injuries and most police files remained intact, officials said.


The fire started accidentally, a fire official at the scene said.


"The reason is melting snow, which leaked through the roof to electrical wiring in the attic and caused a short circuit," said Leonid Korotchik, head of the Moscow fire department. "Similar fires intensify around this time of year. It's just spring."


The fire, which poured out a column of heavy gray smoke, started shortly after 2 p.m. at the building on Butyrskaya Ulitsa in northeast Moscow. The flames quickly spread to the fourth floor of the building, mainly occupied by the prosecutor's office, extending the fire zone to 200 square meters.


Of more than 300 people working in the building, those present when the fire began were evacuated without any panic and police weapons stored on the ground floor were carried out safely.


The street was immediately blocked off and hundreds of police lined up in front of the building, blocking traffic on the busy street. Over a dozen firetrucks stood by, together with cars of Interior Ministry officials checking on their damaged property.


Workers said the building, dating to the 1930s, has long begged for capital renovation and described its state as "pieces of plaster almost falling on your head." A new regional police building has been under construction since 1995 but remains unfinished, which means the displaced employees will have to move to a remote location outside Moscow, the workers said.