July 17, 2012 - 14:16 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A fire broke out in the 42-story Polat Towers that is partly residential and partly occupied by shops and businesses in the Şişli district of Istanbul on Tuesday, July 17 morning.
As the blaze grew police closed the road off to traffic. Television footage showed a nearby petrol station and other buildings also being evacuated. State broadcaster TRT Haber said fire-fighting helicopters had also been dispatched to help put out the flame.
Turkish police said they did not have any information on the cause of the fire and municipality officials were not available for comment.
Onlookers gathered on the streets below and watched as fire crews used extendable ladders to try to get near to the source of the fire, which was raging up one side of the building.
Numerous fire engines arrived on the scene and began trying to contain the blaze at around 11 am. About half an hour later the private Cihan news agency reported that the fire had been partially brought under control and that no casualties have been reported so far.
Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül told the press around 12 am that the fire in the 152-meter tall building had been fully brought under control. He added that if the Polat Tower Residence did not have internal fire-fighting facilities, the fire would have completely destroyed the building.
Sarıgül added that he spoke over the phone with Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş and that he will meet with city officials to discuss what can be done to introduce more effective fire-prevention measures.