Large fire sweeps through Istanbul 42-storey building

Hundreds of people were evacuated from the skyscraper in Istanbul

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A large fire has swept through a 42-storey building in the centre of the Turkish city of Istanbul.

Television footage showed the Polat Tower building engulfed in thick black plumes of smoke, with pieces of debris falling to the ground.

Firefighters - backed by helicopters - later managed to contain the blaze, the cause of which is being investigated.

Officials said no-one was injured in the building which houses shops, apartments and offices.

The officials said hundreds of people were safely evacuated.

Turkey's Anatolia news agencies earlier reported that many people had been stranded inside.

Plumes of smoke billow over Istanbul. Photo: 17 July 2012 The Polat Tower is described as a mixed block of shops, apartments and offices

Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu was quoted as saying that a faulty air conditioner may have caused the fire.

Mustafa Sarigul, the mayor of the district, said the inside of the Polat Tower was not affected, according to the Associated Press news agency.

"The building's fire-extinguishing system automatically activated. Otherwise we could have faced a huge disaster," the mayor added.

Roads around the building remain closed for safety reasons.

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