With nearly 200 firefighters on the scene, the fire was put out in about three hours. There were no casualties.
Parts of the opera and ballet venue, which had been closed for renovations since another fire in summer of 2003, were gutted, according to Viktor Belstov, spokesman for the Ministry of Emergency Situations. The stage and spectators' hall were destroyed, and part of the roof collapsed from all the water poured onto it by firefighters.
According to a firefighter, the fire was contained in the old part of the theater, and did not get into the sections that have been recently constructed.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated. Andrei Stanovenko, a fire-service official, said that possible causes include arson and technical malfunctions.