Blaze Destroys Millions of Historic Documents
A fire at Russia’s Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences (INION) over the weekend has resulted in the loss of more than one million historic documents, the AFP reports.
Over 2,000 square meters (21,500 square feet) of the facility were damaged in the fire, which took 200 firefighters to put under control. Officials estimate that around 15 percent of the library’s collection of 10 million documents have been damaged.
According to AFP, Russian Academy of Sciences president Vladimir Fortov told Russian media, “It’s a major loss for science. This is the largest collection of its kind in the world, probably equivalent to the (United States) Library of Congress.”
He added, “One can find documents there that are impossible to find elsewhere, all the social sciences use this library. What has happened here is reminiscent of Chernobyl.”
Reports initially indicated that the valuable documents and books in the library that date back to the 1500s were not in danger. However, the blaze later caused a major section of the facility’s roof to collapse. It took more than a day for firefighters to bring the blaze to a halt. Images of the resulting carnage show a majority of the institute’s second floor more or less obliterated.
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