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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fire on 25th Floor Kills 4, Injures 5

ReutersFiremen trying to put out a fire on the top floor of an apartment building on Vtoroi Setunsky Proyezd late Friday.
A fire that broke out on the top floor of a 25-story apartment building in western Moscow on Friday night killed four people, including two who jumped to their deaths.

A preliminary investigation indicated the fire at 11 2nd Setunsky Proyezd was caused by careless use of fire, Rossia television reported. This could refer to smoking or use of a gas stove.

Five people were hospitalized with burns and smoke inhalation, and 500 were evacuated to spend the night in a nearby school, the Emergency Situations Ministry said, Interfax reported.

Hampered by a shortage of equipment, firefighters battled for more than four hours to rescue residents and bring the blaze under control.

The fire broke out at about 9 p.m. in an apartment on the 25th floor and quickly spread to the entire floor, 90 meters above the ground. Moscow firefighters have only one ladder capable of reaching such a height, and it arrived hours after the fire began, Rossia reported.

Before the ladder truck arrived, rescuers saved five people who had run out onto their balconies to escape the flames, the ministry said. Some were hauled by rope to the roof; others climbed down short wooden ladders that rescuers had tied between balconies on the 24th and 25th floors.

Rescuers also saved 10 people whom they reached through the regular staircase and one person who had gotten stuck in the elevator when the electricity went off, the ministry said.

Firefighters were also hampered by low water pressure, Itar-Tass reported without elaborating. Gazeta.ru said the water delivery system the building had to combat fires was out of order, and firefighters had to pull their hoses all the way up from ground level.

About 150 firefighters brought the fire under control at 1:20 a.m. on Saturday and only put it out completely hours later, Gazeta.ru said. Police cordoned off the building until residents were able to return to their apartments.

The names of the victims had not been released.