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Russia: Two Trapped In Moscow TV Tower Fire

Moscow, 28 August 2000 (RFE/RL) -- At least two people are believed to be trapped in a blazing fire in Moscow's Ostankino television tower. They are thought to be inside an elevator about 270 meters up in the 540-meter structure. Reports say flames and smoke have moved down to about the 120-meter level and firefighters are unable to work above that mark because of intense heat and heavy smoke. The fire in the second-tallest free-standing structure in the world knocked most television and radio stations in Moscow off the air. The fire began yesterday afternoon.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known. But initial reports said it apparently was started by a short circuit in equipment belonging to a paging company. Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo ruled out a criminal act as the cause of the blaze.