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Copenhagen's 17th-century historic Borsen building ravaged by fire


A devastating fire engulfed Copenhagen's 17th-century Borsen building on Tuesday morning, causing significant damage and toppling its iconic 54-meter (180-foot) spire.

The building, which was undergoing renovation at the time of the fire, had flames and black smoke billowing as the spire crashed into the street below.

By late afternoon, rescue services announced that the fire had been "brought under control." Director of Emergency Services Jakob Vedsted Andersen stated at a press conference that the fire was now in the "final extinguishing" phase but emphasized that the operation would continue for "many hours." He noted that approximately half of the building had suffered extensive fire damage, reported AFP.

Earlier in the day, more than 100 firefighters battled the blaze as onlookers watched in tears.

Elisabeth Moltke, a 45-year-old local resident, emotionally compared the building to Notre Dame, telling AFP, "This is our Notre Dame! This is a national treasure."

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen echoed the sentiment, saying, "It pains us all to see Borsen in the middle of Copenhagen in flames. It is our shared cultural heritage."

King Frederik X of Denmark also expressed sorrow over the loss, stating, "An important part of our architectural heritage was and still is in flames." The building, known for its distinctive design featuring intertwined dragon tails on its spire, was commissioned by King Christian IV and built between 1619 and 1640. It is one of Copenhagen's oldest and most recognizable landmarks.

The Borsen building, situated near the Christiansborg parliament and government seat, was being renovated in preparation for its 400th anniversary and housed a significant art collection. Images from the scene showed individuals carrying artworks from the building to safety.

The fire, which started around 7:30 am (0530 GMT) under the building's copper roof, drew comparisons to the 2019 Notre-Dame Cathedral fire in Paris. Carsten Lundberg, an employee at the Danish Chamber of Commerce, expressed disbelief at the loss, saying, "It's a 400-year-old building that has survived all the other fires that burned Copenhagen down to the ground."

Culture Minister Jakob Engel-Schmidt praised the efforts of employees, rescue workers, and residents who tried to save art treasures from the building. Forces from the Danish military were also called in to assist with the evacuation of artworks.

Despite the extensive damage, both Copenhagen mayor Sophie Haestorp Andersen and Brian Mikkelsen, director of the Danish Chamber of Commerce, expressed determination to restore the building. Andersen stated that the city and the Chamber had already committed to rebuilding, while Mikkelsen affirmed that Borsen would be rebuilt "no matter what."

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TAGS:CopenhagenBorsen BuildingCopenhagen FireCopenhagen Historic BuildingBorsen Building Fire
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