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Denmark's treasured stock exchange in ruins as fire still burns

A view of the Old Stock Exchange's "twisted dragons on spire" during a fire at the Boersen, in Copenhagen, Denmark April 16, 2024. Photo : REUTERS
A view of the Old Stock Exchange's "twisted dragons on spire" during a fire at the Boersen, in Copenhagen, Denmark April 16, 2024. Photo : REUTERS

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Half of Denmark's Old Stock Exchange was completely burnt-out with only outer walls remaining after flames engulfed the building and caused the roof to collapse in Tuesday's devastating fire, Danish officials said on Wednesday.
The blaze that ripped through the 400-year-old landmark, toppling its spire in a scene reminiscent of the 2019 fire at Paris' Notre-Dame Cathedral, was still burning in some hard-to-access places.
A smell of burning hung in the air on Wednesday while fire fighters on a crane flushed water down into the building as smoke still rose from the debris.
A bouquet of sunflowers had been laid in front of the building, which had been undergoing extensive restoration when the fire broke out.
Police investigating the incident said it could take months to determine the cause. No one was hurt in the blaze.
"Right now we are waiting for the fire to be put out and then we will go inside to survey the scene. It is not a safe area so we have not been inside to look yet," Copenhagen police Deputy Commissioner Rune Nielsen told Reuters.
Roughly half the Dutch Renaissance-style building was saved, although massive damage still occurred as fire fighters had drenched it in water.
"Everything that was once part of the storey partitions and building structures inside has been burnt away," Copenhagen fire department Operations Chief Frank Trier Mikkelsen told Reuters, referring to the part of the building worst hit.
"Only the outer walls remain, leaving an empty shell."
The loss of the 17th century landmark was a sad moment for the capital, teacher Eva Simoni Lomholdt, 58, told Reuters.
"My first thought was I hope that they rebuild it, it's never going to be the same but it's iconic to Copenhagen and Denmark".
Emergency services were joined by passers-by on Tuesday in carrying large paintings away from the building shortly after the fire broke out in a race to save historic artefacts from the flames.
"There are probably a thousand objects in there but the things I would say are the most important have been saved,"
Brian Mikkelsen, CEO of the Danish Chamber of Commerce which owns the building, told public broadcaster DR.
He said employees and firefighters knew what to get out as they already had a "worst case" emergency plan in place.
Putting out the fire was taking longer than expected due to lingering pockets of flames found in the rubble and the work was expected to last at least until Thursday morning.
Large containers were being stacked to support damaged walls and prevent the historic brickwork from collapsing.
The building no longer houses the stock exchange but serves as the Chamber of Commerce headquarters.

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