KHUJAND, Tajikistan -- A massive fire today destroyed much of Khujand University's Arts Faculty and the headquarters of a traditional music ensemble, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
Fire department spokesman Bakhtiyor Shokirov said 10 firefighting crews from Khujand and other towns in the northern Sughd Province battled the blaze for two hours and managed to save part of the building.
He said a preliminary investigation suggests the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit.
Acclaimed Tajik singer Jurabek Murodov, 69, who heads the traditional Nuri Khujand music ensemble, told RFE/RL he had a collection of objets d'art, musical instruments, and memorabilia of Tajik and other Central Asian singers dating back 1,000 years.
He said that because of the work of the firefighters, some of the most valuable items were saved from the flames.
Murodov said he hopes his music ensemble will not be homeless and the government will provide it with a new headquarters so that it can celebrate its 10th annivesary.
Murodov was named a People's Artist of the Soviet Union and was a member of the Tajik parliament from 1990-95.Read more in Tajik and see a video report here