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Germany

Fire breaks out at Berlin Europa-Center tower

Huge flames and plumes of black smoke have been seen billowing out of the Europa-Center in the German capital. The cause of the blaze wasn't immediately clear.

Emergency services received a call to the Europa-Center in Berlin's Charlottenburg district shortly before 1 p.m. local time (1100 UTC) on Monday after passers-by reported a plume of black smoke rising from the skyscraper.

Berlin's fire brigade arrived at the historically preserved building shortly after, with roughly 60 firemen being deployed to the scene.

A spokesperson at the fire department said it was too early to say what caused the fire. Local Berlin newspaper "B.Z." reported, however, that an air-conditioning machine had started the blaze. 

There were no reports of injuries.

The 21-story office tower was built between 1963 and 1965, shortly after the erection of the Berlin Wall. In a divided Germany, the rotating Mercedes-Benz star quickly made it an icon of capitalist West Berlin.

Today, the center is home to some 70 stores, as well as several restaurants and bars on the upper levels. On the ground floor, the building also boasts a theater and cabaret venue.

More to follow...

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