VLADIVOSTOK, December 13 (Itar-Tass) — The major fire on the bridge across the Zolotoi Rog (Golden Horn) Bay in Vladivostok could be caused by safety rules violations during welding operations. The Interior Ministry department for the Primorsky Territory is considering this and other versions. Its experts on Tuesday started an inspection over violation of fire safety rules at the facility, the ministry’s press service told Itar-Tass.
The bridge that is currently under construction in Vladivostok caught fire on Monday night. Wood shuttering of the concrete span on the 12th pillar of the bridge trestlework on the southern shore of the bay on the Churkin Peninsula at a height of 64 metres was ablaze. The total area of ··the fire reached 500 square metres. The fire was localized only by the middle of the night.
No one was injured. According to the Far Eastern Directorate of the Ministry of Regional Development, the fire has not damages the main structures of the bridge and its cabling system. Fire fighters have been putting out the last smouldering pockets.
A representative of the Pacific Bridge-Building Company that is engaged in the construction of the facility said that damage from the fire will be determined after the structure is examined by members of a special commission. Insurance will possibly fully reimburse the damages.
It is so far unknown when the builders will resume the bridge construction work and if the fire will affect the time of the facility’s commissioning.
On 30 June 2008, the Administration of the Primorsky Territory contracted Pacific Bridge-Building Company to build a bridge across the Zolotoy Rog Bay, a project worth 17.9 billion roubles. On 9 July 2008, Viktor Grebnev, the Executive Director of the company, commented that construction of the other bridge - to the Russky Island - would be impossible to accomplish on schedule for “technological reasons,” however, Vasiliy Avchenko in Expert argues that the Russian government will built the bridge at any cost, but on time, in order to demonstrate the island's possibilities. The construction of the Zolotoy Rog bridge commenced on 25 July 2008.