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Kazakh Skyscraper Engulfed In Flames

(RFE/RL) May 30, 2006 -- The top floors of the tallest skyscraper in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, were engulfed by fire today, prompting an evacuation.

There were some reports of injuries from smoke inhalation and falling glass, but early reports suggested all occupants had been evacuated.

Television footage showed firefighters battling the flames, which were spreading down the side of the tower. The upper levels of the building appear to be gutted.

The 32-story Transport Tower, nicknamed "Zazhigalka," or the "Lighter," houses offices of the ministries of culture and information, and transport and communications.

The fire apparently broke out on the 30th floor, and quickly spread.

(compiled from local and international agency reports)