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Denmark’s Børsen fire mirrors Notre Dame’s devastation

Denmark’s Børsen fire mirrors Notre Dame’s devastation

Denmark’s Børsen fire mirrors Notre Dame’s devastation

Denmark’s Børsen fire mirrors Notre Dame’s devastation

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  • A fire broke out in Copenhagen’s historic Borsen, a 400-year-old stock exchange building.
  • The fire destroyed large parts of the structure and toppled the ornate spire known for its dragons.
  • The rescue effort included soldiers, museum conservators, and public members.
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Early on Tuesday morning, alarm bells rang out as fire tore through Copenhagen’s historic former stock exchange building, Borsen. In moments, the inferno gutted large parts of the 400-year-old structure and toppled the ornate spire known for its distinctive dragons.

Brian Mikkelsen, head of the Danish Chamber of Commerce which owns Borsen, has vowed to rebuild it “no matter what”. Officials are now drawing comparisons with France’s Notre-Dame Cathedral, which suffered devastation from fire in 2019.

Danish officials are now aiming to uncover what lessons they can learn from the swift restoration of the cathedral. While cycling to his office, Mr. Mikkelsen first heard about the fire and arrived to find scores of firefighters tackling the blaze. “I was biking in there. Then I saw the flames,” he said.

Together with colleagues and emergency workers, he entered the burning building multiple times to rescue some of the hundreds of centuries-old artworks stored inside.

“We’d been running, in and out, in and out. Sometimes the fire team said we should get out because we were right next to the fire,” he recalled.

“I didn’t think, I just reacted. It was intuition saying that we have to save this.”

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They climbed on each other’s shoulders to pull down artworks mounted high on walls. A hundred soldiers, museum conservators, and even members of the public joined the rescue effort. They recovered most of the historic items, except for a bust of King Christian IV of Denmark that weighed two tonnes.

“We got almost everything,” Mr Mikkelsen told me. “So that’s a little hope in disaster.”

Fortuitously, they also recovered the spire’s ornamental metal tip, which was handed over to him.

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