'Our own Notre Dame moment': Copenhagen's iconic Old Stock Exchange spire falls in blaze

No casualties reported in fire that engulfed 4-century landmark, with cause of blaze still unclear, according to local media

Leila Nezirevic  | 16.04.2024 - Update : 16.04.2024
'Our own Notre Dame moment': Copenhagen's iconic Old Stock Exchange spire falls in blaze


Flames engulfed the Danish capital's historical Old Stock Exchange building Tuesday morning, as authorities invoked the 2019 Notre-Dame Cathedral fire to underscore the gravity of the situation.

The cause of the blaze in central Copenhagen remains unclear, though emergency services said a scaffolding that had been set up around the building made the firefighting mission more difficult, according to Danish state broadcaster DR.

No casualties have been reported so far.

Shortly after 8 a.m. local time (0600GMT), flames spread throughout the 400-year-old Stock Exchange building, or Borsen, with its famed central spire collapsing at about 8.30 a.m. (0630GMT), local media reported.

This is "our own Notre Dame moment," Deputy Prime Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said on X.

On April 15, 2019, the roof and spire of Notre-Dame de Paris, a medieval Catholic cathedral, were destroyed in a devastating fire. Major interior damage was prevented by the vaulted stone ceiling which allowed the recovery of invaluable relics and artwork. Notre Dame is due to reopen in December this year.

"We are met with a terrible sight. The stock market is on fire. We ask everyone to stay away from the area around Slotsholmen," the Danish Chamber of Commerce, which owns the building, posted on X.

Police officers have cordoned off the Knippelsbro and the Christiansborg Slotsplads area, with roads likely to be closed for a long period of time.

"It's horrible. It was one of the city's most beautiful buildings. I pass by here every day. It's Notre Dame all over again," a local craftsman Henrik Grage told the broadcaster, referring to the 2019 blaze at the famed Paris cathedral.

The building's director Brian Mikkelsen together with local residents joined emergency services in an attempt to salvage the Borsen's art.

It was "touching to see Bourse staff, emergency services and passing Copenhageners collaborate to save art treasures," the country's Culture Minister Jakob Engel-Schmidt said on X.

The historical building is situated next to Denmark's parliament, the Folketing, and the royal Christiansborg Palace.

Part of the parliament building was evacuated and police have asked people to avoid driving in the inner part of the city, DR reported.

The Stock Exchange, which featured a spire shaped by the intertwined tails of four dragons, and three crowns symbolizing the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, had been under renovation when the fire broke out.

The Borsen on Slotsholmen dates back to 1625. It was built by King Christian IV and is the oldest building in Copenhagen.

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