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Residents rush to save artifacts as blaze engulfs Copenhagen’s historic stock exchange building in devastating fire

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A fire ripping through Denmark’s old stock exchange building has torn down the structure’s dragon-tail spire, a Copenhagen landmark.

The protected 400-year-old building caught fire Tuesday, and police have evacuated the adjacent properties, including those belonging to the Finance Ministry, shutting down part of the inner city. The parliament is also next to Borsen, as the building is called.

The building’s iconic tower consisted of four intertwined dragon tails, topped by three crowns, symbolizing Denmark, Norway and Sweden. According to legend, the spire would guard the structure against enemy attacks and fires.

The spire was part of the Copenhagen skyline and often cited as an example of the city’s renaissance architecture.

Authorities said the building’s copper roof made the firefighting efforts more difficult. Shortly before noon Copenhagen time, images indicated that the fire had died down somewhat though large flames were still visible and the air in the central part of the city was heavy with smoke.

The property, which served as Denmark’s stock exchange until the 1970s, now houses the Danish Chamber of Commerce and had been under renovation. There were no reports of deaths or injuries from the fire.

Images by TV2 showed residents helping to evacuate old paintings from the burning building, carrying them over to safety at the parliament. As many as 90 soldiers from the Royal Guard also helped police setting up barriers and safeguard valuables.

“The Queen and I want to thank all those who since this morning have worked to save as much as possible of the building as well as all the cultural artifacts and works of arts,” King Frederik X said in a post on the Royal Court’s Facebook page. 

Denmark’s minister for culture, Jakob Engel-Schmidt, decried the “horrible images” showing “400 years of Danish cultural heritage is in flames,” according to a post on X.

The minister told local media it was too early to decide on rebuilding. He added that his “gut-feeling” told him it should be done, but that it wasn’t yet an official government position.

Copenhagen’s Lord Mayor Sophie Haestorp Andersen said that she and all the deputy mayors at the city council want Borsen restored, according to a statement.

While Borsen had been spared from past Copenhagen fires, the adjacent national parliament, Christiansborg Palace, has burned down twice since the late 18th century.

The blaze is reminiscent of a fire that destroyed much of the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral five years ago, almost to the date. France then embarked on a nearly $900 million refurbishment of the Gothic sanctuary that’s soon nearing an end.





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