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Fire Strikes Heydar Aliyev Center In Baku

  • RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service

BAKU -- Firefighters have extinguished a blaze at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Azerbaijan's capital, Baku.

Officials said 50 firefighting brigades and several helicopters were deployed to bring the blaze under control.

No official estimate of the damage is immediately available.

There is also no official word on the cause of the blaze.

The center -- named after the late former president and father of Azerbaijan’s current President Ilham Aliyev -- was built at a reported cost of $250 million and opened in May to mark Heydar Aliyev’s 89th birthday.

The building is striking in appearance, with fluid, flowing lines, lots of glass, and an all-white exterior.

Heydar Aliyev, who died in 2003, was the communist leader of Soviet Azerbaijan and became president of independent Azerbaijan in 1993 after the Soviet collapse.

He is hailed by the country's current rulers as “the founder of modern Azerbaijan.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Battling the blaze

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