NewsLocalFire at Russian Cultural Centre was not arson, lab results show

Fire at Russian Cultural Centre was not arson, lab results show

The fire at the Russian Cultural Centre in Nicosia was not a result of arson, examinations by the State General Laboratory showed.

The police investigation regarding the incident is nearing its end. Authorities have in their hands the reports by the fire service, the results of the analysis by the State General Laboratory, as well as testimonies by witnesses.

According to Phileleftheros, all show that the fire started by accident, either by cigarettes discarded near combustible material (paint, thinner, polystyrene) used for the ongoing renovation of the building or some other event caused by the renovation work.

At the same time, police have not collected any testimonies saying that Molotov cocktails were thrown at the building, which was the initial claim from the Russian Cultural Centre’s side, who also noted that a ‘suspicious’ white van was seen in the area in the days before the fire.

Contrary, testimonies say that people were seen smoking near the combustible material inside the building.

Authorities have also ruled out a possible short-circuit as the cause of the fire, as there was no electricity inside the building, at the time. However, the fire service found a leak from an LPG gas cylinder, which seems to have strengthened the fire.

After the incident, on April 26 which severely damaged the building, the centre’s head, Alina Radchenko told Russia’s state news agency TASS that “Molotov cocktails were thrown into the building.”

The centre was built in 1978 and is operated by Russia’s embassy in Nicosia.

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