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MOSCOW, August 22. /TASS/. The fire fighting and rescue units have been able to protect from fire more than 500 residential buildings in the historical center of Russia's southern city of Rostov-on-Don where more than 2,000 reside, Head of the Russian Emergencies Ministry’s Main Directorate in the Rostov region Valery Sinkov told TASS on Tuesday.
"Thanks to the timely involvement of forces, effective use of an air group and actions by the fire fighting and rescue units, the fire has been prevented from spreading to more than 500 residential buildings with a population of more than 2,000 people," he said.
Sinkov added that the fire fighting and rescue units had the task to prevent the fire from spreading to the greater part of the city’s historical center.
"The fire broke out at 12:52 Moscow Time. By the time the first fire fighting unit arrived, the fire fully engulfed one building on an area of 600 square meters. The gusts of wind up to 15 meters per second quickly spread the fire over the high-density wooden houses that turned out to be in the epicenter of the fire storm. The wind spread the fire from one roof to another," he said.
Sinkov noted that the firefighters had to work in very difficult conditions due to hot weather. "Many firefighters fainted because of a heat stroke, but then recovered consciousness and continued extinguishing the fire," he noted.
"But for the actions of the fire fighting and rescue units and aircraft, the consequences could have been dire," he added.
On Monday, a massive fire broke out in Rostov-on-Don’s historical center. Private houses on an area of 10,000 square meters were affected by blazes. At 18:53 Moscow Time it was announced that the fire had been localized. The fire destroyed about 120 buildings, of these nearly 100 were residential facilities.
A state of emergency has been declared in the Rostov-on-Don region. About 600 people have been evacuated from the nearby houses. A criminal case has been opened under the section of the Russian Criminal Code titled "Deliberate destruction or damage to someone else’s property," which provides for up to five years in jail.