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ASTANA, January 15 (Itar-Tass) —— A fire, which broke out at the largest mosque of Central Asia, the Astana Hazret Sultan grand mosque, has been put out, the Kazakh Emergency Situations Ministry reports.
“The fire was put out by 171 firemen with 35 fire engines of the city emergency situations department,” the ministry said.
The cause of the fire and the damage are being investigated. There is a theory that construction works, in particular, welding, might have sparked the blaze. Updated reports say that the fire spread onto 800 square meters.
It was reported earlier that the body of an unknown man was found on the fire scene and the firemen rescued 13 people.
Hazret Sultan was presented to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in December 2011, by the 20th anniversary of independent Kazakhstan. “This is the largest mosque in Central Asia. It is being built with popular donations, not with the government’s money,” the president said.
The mosque has a size of 17,700 square meters. It is located close to the Palace of Independence, the venue of the most significant political and business events in Kazakhstan.
Some 5,000 people will be able to pray at the mosque simultaneously when the construction is finished. The mosque’s four prayer towers are 77 meters high; its dome is the tallest in Kazakhstan: it is 28 meters wide and 52 meters tall.