Saygin Serdaroglu / AFP - Getty Images
Dark clouds of smoke billow over the Besiktas district of Istanbul after a fire broke out at a 42-storey building. Turkey's Anatolia news agency said many people were stranded inside the luxurious Polat Tower Residence.
ISTANBUL, Turkey - A large fire broke out in a 42-story tower block in a central Istanbul district on Tuesday, sending thick smoke billowing into the air before firefighters extinguished the blaze.
There were no reports of casualties.
Live images on Turkish television showed the Polat Towers building, which is made up of residential apartments and offices, engulfed in black smoke with pieces of debris falling to the ground below as fire crews fought the blaze.
People wearing breathing masks were led out by fire crews. A nearby gas station and other buildings were also evacuated.
"It is not clear yet why or from where the fire was started. We will see when the fire brigade's report is finished. The cause will be investigated," said Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas.
"We could have experienced a catastrophe as at least 1,500 people reside in the building," he said.
The tower block's owner, Adnan Polat, said everyone from the building had been rescued.
"All of them left the building in a healthy condition. We also rescued a few pets. Our biggest reward is there was no loss of life. This building has an early warning system and this incident showed the importance of it to everyone," Polat said.
The flames appeared to spread from the base of the tower and raged up one side of the building, leaving it scorched black.
A video posted earlier on YouTube showed flames licking up the side of one corner of the building. Several glass windows appeared to be open.
State broadcaster TRT Haber quoted Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni as saying the fire had started in the air conditioning units at the base of the tower.
NBCNews.com staff and Reuters contributed to this report.
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