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Fire Hits Main State Broadcasting Studios

March 9, 1996

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) _ A fire at Ukraine’s huge state television and radio headquarters destroyed equipment, disrupted programming and caused tens of millions of dollars in damage.

No injuries were reported.

Eighteen fire trucks were dispatched to the blaze, which broke out in one of the radio studios before dawn.

Three floors of the five-story building were damaged, said police spokesman Vladislav Gromov. Dozens of people were evacuated.

Firefighters took three hours to extinguish the worst of the blaze. By midmorning, the state radio station was on the air again, using a backup studio.

Television operations also were moved to temporary studios, and the start of the day’s programming was delayed by about 1 1/2 hours, Russia’s NTV Television said.

The sprawling studios on Kiev’s central Khreshchatik Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, house state radio and UT-1 and UT-2, the country’s largest television networks.

A government commission was set up to investigate the cause of the blaze, which officials said caused tens of millions of dollars in damage.

``It could have been a terrorist act, or it could have been from a cigarette,″ Gromov said.

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