By Hovannes Shoghikian
Firefighters needed more seven than hours to put out a fire that gutted on Saturday the building housing the Armenian Ministry of Justice and destroyed many documents kept there.
Officials said the blaze completely destroyed the two upper floors of the four-story building in downtown Yerevan and seriously damaged its second floor, effectively paralyzing the ministry’s work.
“As you can see, the offices of the minister and the deputy minister have been completely destroyed,” Deputy Justice Minister Gevorg Kostanian told reporters. He said most of the ministry archive was also burned down.
According to the deputy head of the Armenian Rescue Service, Artur Voskanian, as many as 20 firefighter crews were rushed to scene to localize the blaze and prevent it from reaching the adjacent buildings of the Office of the Prosecutor-General and the Court of Appeals. He would not speculate on possible causes of the fire sparked early in the morning.
“We can’t comment on causes of the fire? The investigation will establish them,” said Voskanian.
The investigation was ordered by President Robert Kocharian at an emergency meeting with senior law-enforcement and Rescue Service officials later in the day. He also instructed them to help restore “the normal work” of the ministry.