| February 14, 1988 (1988-02-14)|
Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg)
The 1988 fire in the Library of the USSR Academy of Sciences (now Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences) broke out on Sunday, February 14, 1988, in the newspaper section on the third floor of the library. According to the library's acting director Valeriy Leonov, the fire alarm sounded at 8:13 pm, when the library was closed for visitors. By the time the fire was extinguished the following afternoon, it had destroyed between 300,000 and 400,000 books of the total 12 million housed. About 3.5 million volumes initially became damp due to firefighting foam.
Many of the lost books were foreign scientific works.
1988 Library of the USSR Academy of Sciences fire Wikipedia
The first fire engines arrived eight minutes after the fire alarm went off. However, it took nearly two hours for the firefighters to reach the fire itself. The fire was initially tackled by the Ninth Fire Company that was joined by the crews of seven other fire engines.
The damp books damaged by fire extinguishment were initially frozen. Then a radio appeal was broadcast for citizens to dry the damp books in their homes. By late March 1988 93% of the damp books had been dried in that way and returned to the library. However, about 10,000 books became moldy.