Denmark: Iconic 400-Year-Old Copenhagen Stock Exchange Building Collapses in Fire

By Madz Dizon

Apr 16, 2024 09:31 AM EDT

Denmark: Iconic 400-Year-Old Copanhagen Stock Exchange Building Collapses in Fire
The tower of the historic Boersen stock exchange collapses as the building is on fire in central Copenhagen, Denmark on April 16, 2024.
(Photo : IDA MARIE ODGAARD/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

A devastating fire broke out in Copenhagen's Old Stock Exchange on Tuesday, causing significant damage to one of the city's most iconic landmarks.

The fire consumed the spire of the building, leading to its collapse onto the roof, creating thoughts of the tragic fire that occurred at Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral in 2019. 

Copenhagen Stock Exchange Building Engulfed by Fire

A fire broke out on Tuesday at the historic 17th-century construction, also known as Borsen, which was undergoing renovation at the time.

Emergency vehicles quickly responded to the incident as thick plumes of smoke engulfed central Copenhagen, however, there have been no immediate updates on any injuries.

According to Al Jazeera, television footage captured individuals transporting various objects, including valuable paintings with historical significance.

A magnificent collection of art is housed within the Dutch Renaissance-style building. Among its treasures is the renowned 19th-century oil painting From Copenhagen Stock Exchange by P S Kroyer, which was recently taken by multiple individuals.

Culture Minister Jakon Engel-Schmidt expressed his appreciation for the assistance provided by passersby in saving valuable art and iconic images from the burning building, describing it as a touching sight.

According to authorities, nearby buildings on the street, including the Ministry of Finance, are being evacuated. According to Danish media reports, an annex of the Danish parliament, located in the block behind the old stock exchange, has also been instructed to evacuate.

The building underwent a renovation to rectify previous alterations made in the 19th century and bring back its original facade. The spire of the building stood at an impressive height of 56 meters (184 feet), with a unique design resembling the intertwined tails of four dragons.

The spire seems to gradually buckle under the scorching heat of the flames, eventually giving in to the destructive force of the fire and collapsing to the ground in a shower of debris and smoke.

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Denmark's Iconic Landmark Børsen 

Initial reports indicated that fragments of the spire had detached and landed on the street around 7:30a.m. BST. There is still a significant presence of police and firefighters at the scene near the Børsen building, where scaffolding has collapsed in a massive fire.

Authorities in the Danish capital have closed off surrounding streets and are urging commuters to avoid the inner city as they work to address the fire. Following the arrival of ambulances, there have been no indications of any injuries reported.

The Børsen, a historic landmark in Denmark, is located adjacent to Christiansborg Palace, which serves as the Danish Parliament. This iconic building has a rich history dating back to 1625.

The building stands out with its distinctive 183ft 'Dragespir' (Dragon Spire) that twists towards the sky, adorned with three crowns symbolizing the unity of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

Engel-Schmidt expressed deep concern over the devastating loss of 400 years of cultural heritage. He emphasized the urgency with which artifacts were rescued from the fire, highlighting the gravity of the situation.

Additional footage captured the intense efforts of firefighters as they worked to save valuable paintings from the building. Authorities have taken measures to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading further.

Jakob Vedsted Andersen, leading the emergency operation, emphasized the danger of the fire, stating that it is too risky to combat it from inside the building. The primary objective is to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading to the other half of the building, as per Daily Mail.

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