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Fire-Observation Tower: Centenary and Fireman Vasilich

Omsk’s fire-observation tower celebrated its centenary in 2015. The decision to build the first stone fire-observation tower in the city history instead of wood towers was made by the local City Duma in 1912. The author of the project was architect Iliodor Khvorinov, the designer of many other famous buildings in Omsk.

By the time when the foundations of the new fire-tower had already been laid, it became clear that its designed height was not enough: construction of several tall buildings began in the neighborhood, which would obstruct the visibility. As a result, the height of the tower was increased by 32 meters and it became the tallest building in Omsk. The construction was completed on August 28, 1915. The fire tower installation was quite advanced. The first level housed a steam fire-tube; the fire captain’s apartment was on the second level. The bell was installed at the top of the tower for the patrol to raise alarm in an emergency, when seeing smoke from the observation deck. A horse-drawn carriage (later a car) was on duty near the tower, ready to rush to extinguish fire in case of alarm. The fire-tower served its purpose until 1940. In 2002, a mannequin in a helmet and firefighter outfit was installed on its observation deck. Since then Vasilich, as Omsk citizens called him, looks after Omsk from the top. During the 70th anniversary celebration of the Victory, Vasilich was clothed in the uniform of a Soviet soldier and the Victory Banner "was given" him into the hands.

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