Home » Fire in the iconic exhibition building in Copenhagen under control, but rescue services give “no guarantees” about the future

Fire in the iconic exhibition building in Copenhagen under control, but rescue services give “no guarantees” about the future

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The Børsen dates from 1625, making it one of the oldest buildings in the city. The old stock exchange building, where renovation work was underway to correct an incorrect conversion from the 19th century, is located right in the center of Copenhagen, a stone’s throw from the Danish Parliament and the Royal Christiansborg Palace. It no longer houses the Danish stock exchange, but the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce.

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The building caught fire around 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning and the fire brigade and police arrived en masse. Police expect the area to remain cordoned off for some time and due to the enormous traffic problems, people are advised to only leave the city center if necessary.

extinguish for 24 hours

Images soon circulated showing the iconic 56-metre-high spire completely engulfed in flames. “It’s a torch,” is how journalist Morten Skærbæk described it. “The scaffolding apparently makes it impossible for the fire brigade to get close, which makes fire-fighting more difficult. They are still making frantic efforts, but it seems futile.” The spire collapsed around 8:30 am.

“The facades are still standing, but they are starting to collapse under the influence of the fire,” Jakob Vedsted Andersen, chief of the emergency services, said after noon. “We do everything we can to protect the facades, but we cannot give any guarantees.”

It is currently unclear what caused the fire. However, the somewhat reassuring message came on Tuesday afternoon that the fire is under control.

Saving art

Meanwhile, the Danes are making frantic efforts to rescue art and historical objects from the building. The emergency services, employees of the Chamber of Commerce and passers-by help carry away paintings and other works. “We save what we can,” says Andersen. The Danish National Museum said it had sent 25 employees to help. CEO Brian Mikkelsen of the Chamber of Commerce located in the building also took action.

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Several other buildings in the area have also been evacuated as a precaution, the Copenhagen police said. The plenary session and committee meetings will continue as planned in Christiansborg on Tuesday.

© EPA-EFE

“400 years of cultural heritage”

Danish Culture Minister Jakob Engel-Schmidt says the fire has destroyed 400 years of cultural heritage. His colleague Troels Lund Poulsen, Minister of Defense, expresses his sadness about the big fire on the same platform. “Our own Notre Dame moment,” he writes, referring to the devastating fire five years ago in Paris’ world-famous cathedral.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen calls the fair “one of Copenhagen’s most iconic buildings”. “A piece of Danish history goes up in flames,” she wrote on Instagram. “It hurts to see.” She also thanked the fire brigade, the police and everyone “who bravely fought the fire”.

© EPA-EFE

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