Blaze at Moscow skyscraper set to be Europe's tallest

MOSCOW, April 2 Mon Apr 2, 2012 5:30pm EDT

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MOSCOW, April 2 (Reuters) - Fire ripped through the top of a part-built skyscraper on Monday that is set to become Europe's tallest building and form the pinnacle of Moscow's new business district under plans to turn the Russian capital into a global financial centre.

Helicopters buzzed around the building, returning repeatedly to drop water from the nearby Moscow river onto the blaze to help bring the fire under control. The tower, called Vostok or East, has a projected height of 360 metres.

The building's owner, Sergei Polonsky, told the Russia 24 television channel that there were no casualties and no threat of the building collapsing. He said the fire spread quickly through the top floor due to strong wind.

Flames and smoke billowed from the unfinished tower at the centre of a cluster of skyscrapers west of Moscow's centuries-old heart.

The tower is due to be completed in 2013. Together with its twin Zapad or West tower it makes up the Federation complex. The two towers are attached to a 448-metre spire inbetween and linked by multiple bridges.

Russia's outgoing president, Dmitry Medvedev, wants to turn the city of 10.5 million people into a global financial centre by 2020 but his plan is hampered by a lack of modern infrastructure. (Reporting by Gleb Bryanski; Editing by Alison Williams)

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