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GORKI, February 2. /TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday instructed government officials to prepare proposals for reconstructing one of Russia’s largest university libraries, partially destroyed after a large fire broke out on Friday.
The blaze, which began on Friday evening and continued burning throughout Saturday, ravaged some 2,000 square meters of the Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences (INION) in Moscow, which was created in 1918 and holds more than 14 million items.
"Emergency crews and firefighters will continue working at the site over the next two days to complete all necessary works," Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told Medvedev.
He said the government was currently searching for rooms at the Russian Academy of Sciences or other locations to remove the library's collection. "We have already found rooms to transfer employees," Dvorkovich said. "And we will make proposals for reconstructing the library."
The institute’s emergency response headquarters confirmed on Monday that there were no plans to close the library, which could be rebuilt.
Reconstruction work could take years, said the deputy head of the emergency headquarters, Dmitry Yefremenko, adding that the library staff would continue working at other institutions.
The cause of the fire is still unclear. More than 200 firefighters worked at the scene to douse the blaze but could not prevent a section of the roof from collapsing before the fire was contained 25 hours later.
Vladimir Fortov, president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said on Saturday around 15% of the library's items had been damaged, noting however that some of the printed materials kept in the library’s depositaries could be restored.