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Fire burns part of Rustavi 2 TV building

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, July 28
The fire broke out on Wednesday night in the building of Georgia’s most opposition-minded network, Rustavi 2 TV, damaging some studio decorations and communications and causing short-term interruptions. The fire erupted in the territory between the main studios while several employees were still at the building.

The fire erupted about 40-45 square meters of area. Six fire engines participated in the fire-rescue operation. Luckily nobody has been hurt as a result of the fire.

The head of the News Department of the Rustavi 2 Broadcasting Company Nodar Meladze says the fire could reach the main fiber-optic cable that provides broadcasting.

“Some equipment is damaged, as well as some decorations which were stored here, and the specialized lighting for organizing various events is damaged as well,” he stated.

Meladze added that Rustavi 2 TV was forced to broadcast from outside of the building since, in his words, the clipping rooms for Rustavi 2 TV’s news and a number of political programs are located immediately above the storage room.

The fire has been totally extinguished and expert-criminalists have examined the area to identify the cause of the fire.

An investigation into the case has been launched under the second part of Article 187 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which concerns damage and destruction by starting a fire.

Tbilisi mayoral candidates arrived at the scene along with the other supporters of Rustavi 2 TV. They called on the authorities to quickly investigate the incident.

“It is early to make any assessments but the fact is that the fire started in the most inflammable territory of the building, where the decorations are usually kept,” Zaal Udumashvili, a former TV anchor of Rustavi 2 and the United National Movement’s Tbilisi mayoral candidate, stated.

Elene Khoshtaria, European Georgia’s mayoral candidate, says that nothing should hinder the work of Rustavi 2.

“It is good that nobody was injured during the fire. We all pay attention to this broadcaster, because it is constantly under pressure,” Khoshtaria said.

An independent mayoral candidate, Aleko Elisashvili, also arrived at the site. He has that the frequent fires in the capital are very suspicious.

“I hope that this time the investigation will find out what had happened here,” he said.

The amount of the damage the company suffered as a result of the fire is still unknown.