ASTANA (Reuters) - Kazakhstan's tallest building, affectionately known to locals as "the cigarette lighter" due to its shape, lived up to its name on Tuesday when it caught fire.
Flames and smoke could be seen pouring out of the top of the 38-storey building which houses the ministries of industry, information and communications in the capital Astana's government quarter.
There were no official reports of injuries and there was no immediate word on the cause of the blaze. Firemen at the scene said all those inside the building had been evacuated.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev moved the capital of his Central Asian state 1,000 km (600 miles) to the north from leafy Almaty to Astana in 1997. Billions of Kazakhstan's oil revenues have been spent on new buildings.
Residents of Astana, a town with howling winds that is scorchingly hot in the summer and suffers subzero temperatures in the winter, have nicknames for many of the new buildings.
A huge residential block on the bank of the Ishem river is called the "Titanic", the economics ministry building is called "The Dollar" and a tower with an egg on top meant to represent the nation's development is called "Lollipop".
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