Fire rages in Istanbul tower block

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries inside the luxurious Polat Tower Residence (AFP, Saygin Serdaroglu)

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A large fire broke out in a 42-storey tower block in central Istanbul on Tuesday, sending thick smoke billowing into the air, though there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Live images on Turkish television showed the building, which is made up of residential apartments and offices, engulfed in black smoke with debris falling to the ground as fire crews fought the blaze.

Television footage showed people being evacuated from the Polat Tower in Istanbul’s Fulya district, near the city’s main business area. A nearby petrol station and other buildings were also being evacuated.

State broadcaster TRT Haber said fire-fighting helicopters had been dispatched to help put out the flames.

Turkish police said they did not have immediate information on the fire and municipality officials were not available for comment.

Onlookers gathered on the streets below and watched as fire crews on extendable ladders tried to get near the base of the fire which was raging up one of the sides of the building.

(Writing by Jonathon Burch, editing by Myra MacDonald)

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