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article image150m Polat Tower skyscraper ablaze in Istanbul (video) — update

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By Anne Sewell     Jul 17, 2012 in World
Istanbul - In scenes reminiscent of the movie "The Towering Inferno", fire has broken out in the 42-story building in the center of Istanbul, Turkey.
Latest update: The owner of the tower block, Adnan Polat, has said to media: "All of them left [those trapped by the fire] the building in a healthy condition. We also rescued a few pets. Our biggest reward is there was no loss of life.” He added that the “building has an early warning system and this incident showed the importance of it to everyone."
Polat Tower is located in Istanbul’s Fulya business district, which is made up of both residential apartments and offices.
So far, there are no reports of casualties. However, local media is reporting that there are people trapped inside the building.
The video above displays footage from Turkish TV, showing the building wrapped in black smoke with debris falling from the tower block.
Onlookers apparently gathered on the streets below and watched as fire crews on extendable ladders tried to get near the base of the fire.
Istanbul's government Huseyin Avni Mutlu told media that a faulty air conditioner might have started the blaze.
The city's mayor, Mustafa, Sarigul, told AP that, "The building's fire-extinguishing system automatically activated. Otherwise we could have faced a huge disaster." He added that the inside of the tower had not been damaged by the fire.
While firefighters continue to battle against the blaze, which has burnt through the outer walls of the buildings, fanned by winds, nearby buildings and a petrol station have been evacuated. Roads in the area have also been cordoned off for safety.
According to Turkish state TV, helicopters have also been deployed to attempt to bring the blaze under control.
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