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Fire burns in the historic Copenhagen Stock Exchange

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Video explanation, Watch the moment the tower collapsed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange

Fire gutted the old Denmark Stock Exchange building in central Copenhagen.

The 17th-century Börsen Building is one of the city's oldest buildings and onlookers gasped as its famous tower collapsed in the flames.

Everyone who was inside the building was able to leave and people rushed to save some of its historical paintings.

Culture Minister Jacob Engel-Schmidt said that 400 years of Danish cultural heritage had been burned.

The building, dating back to 1625, is located a stone's throw from Denmark's parliament, the Folketing, housed in the old royal palace of Christiansborg Castle. Danish media said the nearby square had been evacuated.

The old stock exchange was being renovated and was covered with scaffolding and protective plastic sheets. It currently houses the Danish Chamber of Commerce, which described Tuesday morning's scenes as a horrific scene.

Local craftsman Henrik Graj told Danish television that it was a tragic day. “This is our Notre Dame,” he said, comparing it to the fire that engulfed the roof and tower of the cathedral in central Paris nearly five years ago.

The Paris fire broke out under the eaves of Notre Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019 when it was also covered by scaffolding as part of extensive renovation work. Investigators blamed either an electrical short or a worker's cigarette butt that had not been properly extinguished.

The cause of the fire in Copenhagen is still unknown, but emergency services said scaffolding made their operation more difficult. Much of the building is believed to have been severely damaged by the fire, which officials say was most intense around its tower.

Emergency services chief Jacob Fedsted Andersen said firefighters faced an almost impossible task to reach the area under the old copper roof.

A bystander told Danish media: “I am completely speechless. This is an unparalleled tragedy.”

Comment on the photo, The fire destroyed the historic tower, which then collapsed

Members of the public joined emergency services, as well as Chamber of Commerce director Brian Mikkelsen, in rushing to the building to rescue the Burson Building's large art collection.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen spoke of “horrific images” and of a piece of Danish history going up in flames.

Local museum inspector Benjamin Asmussen told Danish broadcaster TV2 that the fire was difficult to watch, as the old stock exchange was filled with paintings of Danes who played important roles since the 17th century.

King Frederik He succeeded Queen Margaret II in January, and celebrations for her 84th birthday scheduled for Tuesday were cut short due to the fire.

The Dutch Renaissance-style building on Slotholmen, or Palace Island, was commissioned by King Christian IV of Denmark with the aim of turning Copenhagen into a major commercial centre.

The famous tower includes four dragons with tails twisted in the shape of a spear and three crowns, symbolizing the close relations with neighbors Norway and Sweden.

Image source, Ritzau Scanpix / Ida Marie Odgaard

Comment on the photo, Danish Chamber of Commerce Director Brian Mikkelsen joined ambulance workers in rescuing the building's art treasures

Image source, Ida Marie Odgaard/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Comment on the photo, Onlookers were stunned when the flames took hold of the historic building

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