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Fire engulfs iconic stock exchange building in Denmark’s Copenhagen

In News, World
April 16, 2024

A blaze at Copenhagen’s former stock exchange toppled the historic building’s spire which was undergoing renovation.

A fire has engulfed Copenhagen’s former stock exchange, one of the oldest and most well-known buildings in Denmark’s capital, causing its spire to collapse onto the roof.

The historic 17th-century construction, also known as Borsen, had been under renovation when the blaze broke out on Tuesday.

Ambulances rushed to the scene as huge billows of smoke rose over central Copenhagen but there were no immediate reports of casualties. The cause of the fire was initially unclear.

“We are witnessing a terrible spectacle,” said the Danish Chamber of Commerce, which had used the building as its headquarters in recent years.

epa11281366 Firefighters work to extinguish a fire at the old Stock Exchange (Boersen) in Copenhagen, Denmark, 16 April 2024. A violent fire broke out in the building which is under renovation on the morning of 16 April. The building was erected in the 1620s as a commercial building by King Christian IV and is located next to the Danish parliament. EPA-EFE/Emil Helms DENMARK OUT
Firefighters work to extinguish the fire [Emil Helms/EPA-EFE]

Television footage showed people carrying away a number of items, including historical paintings.

The Dutch Renaissance-style structure houses a large art collection, including the famous 19th-century oil painting From Copenhagen Stock Exchange by P S Kroyer, which was removed by several people.

Culture Minister Jakon Engel-Schmidt said it was “touching” to see how passersby helped emergency services “to save art treasures and iconic images from the burning building”.

Police said they were evacuating nearby buildings in the street, including the Ministry of Finance. An annex of the Danish parliament, which is located in the block behind the old stock exchange, was also ordered to evacuate, Danish media reported.

The renovation of the building, which was completed in 1625, was intended to correct previous work carried out in the 19th century and restore its facade to its original appearance.

Its distinctive spire, in the shape of the tails of four dragons twined together, was 56 metres (184 feet) tall.

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