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Putin Orders Probe Into Possible Arson In Rostov-On-Don Fire

Firefighters search through debris from the blaze that damaged or destroyed 118 buildings in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a detailed investigation into a massive fire that broke out in the center of Rostov-on-Don on August 21.

The Kremlin press service reported on August 26 that Putin had discussed the fire in Moscow with Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov.

Puchkov, the statement said, "did not rule out" that the fire was caused by arson.

Putin ordered authorities to provide aid to victims and to conduct a complete investigation of the incident.

The fire destroyed some 120 buildings in the historical center of the city, including some 100 residential buildings. One person was killed in the blaze and about 600 people were evacuated.

Rostov Oblast Governor Vasily Golubev told journalists earlier in the week that local residents had been approached "on numerous occasions" by speculators offering to buy their homes and land.

The area of the fire is near the Don River and across from a stadium that is being built as a venue for soccer's 2018 World Cup.

With reporting by TASS
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