Wednesday, May 29, 2024
World / EuropeWorld News

Historic building razed, iconic spire toppled after fire broke out

Copenhagen, Denmark: A fire ripped through Copenhagen’s Old Stock Exchange, one of the Danish capital’s best-known buildings, on Tuesday, engulfing its spire, which collapsed in a scene reminiscent of the 2019 blaze at Notre-Dame in Paris.

Passers-by rushed to help emergency services save priceless paintings and other valuables, prompting Danish Culture Minister Jakob Engel-Schmidt to say it was “touching” to see how many people lent a hand “to save art treasures and iconic images from the burning building”.

Fire and smoke rise out of the Old Stock Exchange in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Fire and smoke rise out of the Old Stock Exchange in Copenhagen, Denmark.Credit: AP

The fire began Tuesday morning in the copper roof of the Old Stock Exchange, or Boersen, and spread to the building and the roof, causing a partial collapse and destroying the building’s interior, said firefighters spokesman Jakob Vedsted Andersen.

“What is left when it has been put out is too early to say now,” Engel-Schmidt told Danish broadcaster DR.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

The building, which is next to the Christiansborg Palace, where the Danish parliament sits, is a popular tourist attraction. Its distinctive spire, in the shape of the tails of four dragons twined together, reached a height of 56 metres.

Fire and smoke rise out of the Old Stock Exchange in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Fire and smoke rise out of the Old Stock Exchange in Copenhagen, Denmark.Credit: AP

Huge plumes of smoke rose over downtown Copenhagen and people were seen rushing inside the building to save paintings. The plume could be seen from southern Sweden, which is separated by a narrow waterway.

Ambulances were at the scene, but there were no reports of casualties. A spokesman for the company working on renovating the building said the carpenters who worked on the roof had all escaped.

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