MOSCOW, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- A fire destroyed sections of the Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences library in Moscow on Friday night.
More than a million books and items are expected to have been damaged by the fire or by water used to combat the flames. The library has more than 14 million items including medieval Slavic texts, which were not damaged.
A section of the building's roof collapsed, but no one was reported injured.
An electrical short-circuit is believed to have caused the fire. It took more than 200 firefighters about 25 hours to extinguish the flames.
This is so awful. The INION, the Moscow library that housed countless rare texts, went up in flames last night. pic.twitter.com/28gOc4HrxU— Elizabeth C. (@LaDiavolina) January 31, 2015
"It's a major loss for science," President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Fortov said. "This is the largest collection of its kind in the world, probably equivalent to the (United States) Library of Congress."
He also compared the loss to a cultural Chernobyl, referring to the Ukrainian nuclear disaster in 1986.