MOSCOW, August 21. /TASS/. The fire affecting Russia’s southern city of Rostov-on-Don has consumed more than 100 buildings, including over 80 homes, a source in the regional department of the Russian Emergencies Ministry told TASS on Monday.
"According to the latest reports, as many as 107 buildings, including 83 homes, have been damaged," the source said.
Meanwhile, during the day, three helicopters deployed to the Southern Military District dropped around 500 tonnes of water on hot spots, the district’s press service said.
The firefighting operation involves more than 1,200 people, as well as 200 pieces of equipment, including several helicopters of the Emergencies Ministry and the National Guard.
Earlier on Monday, a large fire broke out in Rostov-on-Don’s old town. Private houses on an area of 10,000 square meters were affected by blazes. Strong gusty winds and high-density housing are hampering the firefighting activities. However, the fire was fully contained by 19:00 Moscow time (16:00 GMT).
There have been no fatalities, while 45 people requested medical assistance and seven were hospitalized.
According to preliminary data, the fire was caused by the ignition of a home appliance, while arson seems unlikely, a law enforcement source told TASS. However, regional prosecutor Yuri Baranov said that the arson theory would also be looked into.
A state of emergency has been declared on the entire territory of the Rostov region over the large fire affecting the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said at a meeting of the governmental commission on disaster management.
"We are declaring a state of emergency on the entire territory of the Rostov region. It is a federal-level emergency," the minister said.