Fire destroys Copenhagen’s Old Stock Exchange dating to 1600s, collapsing its dragon-tail spire

April 16, 2024  -COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A fire raged through one of Copenhagen’s oldest buildings Tuesday, destroying about half of the 17th-century Old Stock Exchange and collapsing its iconic dragon-tail spire, as passersby rushed to help emergency services save priceless paintings and other valuables.

The blaze broke out on the building’s roof during renovations, but police said it was too early to pinpoint the cause. The red-brick building, with its green copper roof and distinctive 56-meter (184-foot) spire in the shape of four intertwined dragon tails, is a major tourist attraction next to Denmark’s parliament, Christiansborg Palace, in the heart of the capital.

Bells tolled and sirens sounded as fire engulfed the spire and sent it crashing onto the building, which was shrouded by scaffolding. Huge billows of smoke rose over downtown Copenhagen and could be seen from southern Sweden, which is separated from the Danish capital by a narrow waterway.

”A piece of Danish history is on fire,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen wrote on Instagram, saying that it hurt to see the loss of such “irreplaceable cultural heritage.”

Ambulances were at the scene but there were no reports of casualties.

Firefighters, who reportedly pumped water from a nearby canal, sprayed water through the doorway of the Old Stock Exchange’s gilded hall that is used for gala dinners, conferences and other events and where many paintings were on display.

Danish Culture Minister Jakob Engel-Schmidt said it was “touching” to see how many people lent their hand “to save art treasures and iconic images from the burning building.” One man jumped off his bicycle to help soon after the fire broke out, and members of the public helped first responders to carry huge works of art to safety.

Among the pieces that had been on display in the building was a huge painting completed in 1895 by Danish artist P.S. Krøyer called, “From Copenhagen Stock Exchange.” No information has been released about which works of art were saved from the blaze, although video footage appeared to show the Krøyer painting being removed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *