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Fire in Latvian pres residence brought under control

June 21, 2013, 8:10 UTC+3

A total of 3,200 sq m were afire, criminal case opened

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RIGA, June 21 (Itar-Tass) - The fire in the Riga Palace, the Latvian presidential residence, in central Riga is brought under control.

The blaze was fought throughout the night. The work was complicated by the shortage of water that could be taken only from a water tank vehicle, a spokeswoman for the republic's state firefighting and rescue service said.

Firefighters attempted to pump water from the nearby river, but unsuccessfully.

Authorities mobilized additional forces. Rescuers from Jurmala also participated in the work together with ten crews of local firefighters. A special water-dropping helicopter of the national armed forces was planned to participate, but it was not used because of darkness.

The fire alarm call was received at 23:21 on Thursday. One rescuer suffered smoke poisoning in the firefighting operation. A total of 3,200 sq m were afire. A criminal case is opened.

The Latvian History Museum in the palace is seriously damaged. Some exhibits were covered to protect them from water, but the rest could be damaged.

On the initiative of the Latvian culture minister, an extraordinary meeting of the crisis committee will be held from 09:00 Moscow time on Friday to discuss the situation.

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