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February 11th, 2012

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December 7th, 2011

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions, sprinklers

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August 19th, 2011

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

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Mountain museum

set on fire,



5:23 PM, Jun 23, 2011  |   comments




FRISCO – At the Frisco Museum, Manager

Simone Belz says they pride themselves on

preserving history. “Preserving history

means trying to save artifacts for the next

generation to come,” Belz said.


So it was a double blow when one of the

oldest buildings in Frisco, the Ruth House,

which dates back to 1890, not only caught

on fire, but was burglarized.


“Those two things are absolutely

devastating,” Belz said.


On Sunday, June 19, Lake Dillon

firefighters were called to the house with

flames shooting out the roof.


Damage was kept at a minimum, but

investigators suspected arson. When e

mployees looked through the museum,

they found that some items were lost in the

fire and others were just missing.


That’s when Frisco Police Det. Julie Polly

says they started thinking the crimes were



Now they are following leads and asking

for the public’s help.


“The investigation is going. Well we have

some tips from folks in the community and

I would encourage people to continue

contacting me with anything they think was

suspicious or out of the ordinary,” Polly



As for Belz and the Frisco Museum, they’re

still moving forward. They are upset about

the items that were lost in the fire or stolen, b

ut say 50 percent to 75 percent of the

collection in the Ruth House has been

recovered. It’s believed it can be put back

on display.


As for the missing items, they say they

have similar artifacts to add to the house

and will try to replace those stolen items.


There’s still no real idea when the Ruth



Mountain museum set on fire, burglarized |

June 26th, 2011

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions, Museum thefts

The walls of the grand parlor and original bedrooms, home to some of Washington’s most famous paintings, are repainted in delicate shades named Lulled Beige and Misty Mica. The trim of some rooms are a shimmering sand, better to complement Pierre Bonnard’s pastels and Edgar Degas’ dancers. The new oak floors shine with polish. Outside, the mansion’s bricks have been replaced and repointed, and the hand-carved stonework repaired.

And finally, the priceless works of art that have made the Phillips Collection a popular destination for 90 years have been rehung.

Following a disastrous fire last September, the original 1897 Phillips home has been closed until this week, although two modern additions remained open to the public.


Historic home of Phillips Collection reopens after fire.

January 15th, 2011

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

Firefighters have tackled a blaze in the roof of Blenheim Palace.

More than 40 firefighters were called to the 18th Century country house in Woodstock, near Oxford, which sustained minimal damage.

The fire is believed to have started after staff used a flamed torch to heat pipes frozen due to the winter weather, which set a bird’s nest alight.

full story

December 22nd, 2010

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

No injuries or damage reported with fire at Science Museum Oklahoma building
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City firefighters are trying to determine what caused a blaze at the Science Museum Oklahoma.

Crews received a call reporting the blaze about 11:40 a.m. Saturday. Officials say firefighters found roofing material that was next the building on fire.

Officials evacuated several hundred people from the building. No one was injured.

A hazardous materials unit was called to the scene because of some nearby propane tanks. A pop off valve on one of the propane tanks blew, and flames could be seen shooting up several feet.

But firefighters were able to put out the fire with no apparent damage to the museum.–sciencemuseumoklahoma-fire,0,2547175.story
By Associated Press

November 21st, 2010

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

Fire Breaks Out At The Phillips Collection

A fire, which one employee is describing as “serious,” broke out at the Phillips Collection this morning. Firefighters set up outside the Phillips, located at 1600 21st Street NW, and proceeded to climb onto the roof, where they were operating with saws and hooks.

“I work there, and we aren’t allowed in the building yet,” said an employee at the Collection, who wished to remain anonymous. “Looks like some pretty severe damage to the old historic part of the museum. No word on the cause of the fire.”

Artwork is being moved now by emergency responders, who worked with curators on an overhaul strategy. D.C. Fire and EMS spokesperson Pete Peringer said that the gallery’s “sprinkler system did control the fire,” which took “about 10 to 15 minutes” to extinguish. Peringer also noted that there was some smoke in the air, which obviously has the potential to cause some issues with the art. We haven’t been able to get any confirmation regarding any potential damage of artwork at the gallery, but we will certainly update when that information becomes available — we tried to contact someone over at the gallery, but their phone lines appear to be down at the moment.

Traffic in the surrounding area has also been detoured around Q, R and 21st Streets NW.

UPDATE (10:42 a.m.): TBD is reporting that the fire might have been caused by the construction that is going on at the building. They also provide the following update.

Construction damage is not significant. All four floors suffered smoke and water damage. “I’m not a curator of art,” says a Deputy Fire Chief Kenneth Crosswhite. “But anytime you have smoke and water you have damage.”
The fire, Crosswhite says, was in section where permanent collection and masterworks are.

Doesn’t sound too good, although friend of DCist Kriston Capps notes that many of the gallery’s most important works were not currently on display.

UPDATE (11:15 a.m.): And now, the official word from the Phillips Collection. The good news is that none of the artwork suffered “significant” damage and no one was injured — the bad news is that the Museum is closed until further notice. The full release, from Phillips spokesperson Cecilia Wagner:

This morning, there was a renovation-related fire on the roof of the Phillips House.
The fire was contained and extinguished. No one was injured. All artwork is safe and secure. Museum conservators are currently evaluating the artwork but nothing has incurred significant damage. The building condition is being evaluated as well.

The Museum is closed until further notice. Phillips after 5 has been postponed. This evening’s GW class, “The Peformative Impulse in American Art,” will take place as planned at the Center for Study of Modern Art from 6-8:30 pm.

September 2nd, 2010

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

Fire destroys Nelson heritage building
Read more:

Last Updated: Friday, July 30, 2010

Four firetrucks were called out to the fire in Nelson on Thursday night. (Rich Mooney/CBC)
A fire destroyed a heritage building in downtown Nelson, B.C., on Thursday night, forcing the temporary evacuation of several downtown blocks while hundreds of town residents turned out to watch the blaze.

The fire started around dinnertime in the basement of the Red Fish Grill. Everyone got out safely, but the fire raged for hours.

Fire Chief Simon Grypma said no one was injured but a large area of downtown Nelson was evacuated as flames shot out the roof of the century-old building.

“We had to evacuate the Hume Hotel and several apartment blocks on Baker Street because of the smoke and the threat of the fire moving from building to building,” said Grypma.

Yosuke Shirotani was working in his family’s sushi restaurant next door when the fire broke out.

“First thing I did was just close the window and grab all the valuables. Now we have to wait and see what’s going to happen,” he told CBC News as he watched the fire burn.

Firefighters managed to contain the fire to just one building, but by the time the flames were finally extinguished around 3 a.m. PT, the building was gutted, leaving its charred remains in the town’s historic downtown core.

Fire officials say the Hume Hotel did sustain some water damage.

Read more:

July 31st, 2010

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

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July 30th, 2010

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions, museum security

Smoke forces evacuation of Statue of Liberty,0,4662788.story

July 21, 2010 | 11:37 a.m.

(Reuters) – New York’s Statue of Liberty was evacuated Wednesday after an elevator malfunctioned and filled the area with smoke, said the National Parks of New York Harbor.

“The motor on our elevator started smoking,” said Mindi Rambo, spokeswoman for the National Parks of New York Harbor.

Rambo said it was not immediately known how many people were evacuated, but that “based on our experience several hundred would have been within the monument at this time of day during the summer.”

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“While we did have to evacuate the monument, the island itself remains open,” she said.

The New York Fire Department was on scene and once they had given the all clear the statue would be reopened.

The Statue of Liberty was closed to the public because of safety concerns after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The crown was reopened a year ago while the museum gallery and observation deck at the statue’s base were reopened to the public in 2004.

The statue was a gift to the United States from France in 1886 and it is visited by several million people a year.

A symbol of freedom and democracy and a prominent draw for tourists, the statue was one of the first sights seen by millions of immigrants who arrived in New York harbor in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Copyright Reuters 2010

July 22nd, 2010

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

Fire hits Russian art restoration center
Published: July 15, 2010 at 2:34 PM

MOSCOW, July 15 (UPI) — Two firefighters were killed Thursday in a blaze at a historic Moscow center for the restoration of art work.

A senior fire official told RIA Novosti that dozens of firefighters extinguished the blaze at the Grabar All-Russian Art, Scientific and Restoration Center. Three helicopters were also dispatched to attack the fire from the air.

The cause was believed to be a blowtorch being used by construction workers doing repairs to the two-story building, ITAR-TASS said.

The center was founded in 1918 by Igor Grabar, a member of a wealthy Russian family who had become an artist and art historian. Grabar, who headed the center until 1930, was a prominent member of the Soviet art establishment until his death in 1960 at 89.

Fire officials said most of the art works at the center were rescued, but some on the top floor might have been destroyed.

The center has recently been involved in the restoration of frescoes in Moscow churches and conservation of important icons.

July 16th, 2010

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

Emergency safety measures are in place and the clearing of debris has begun on a Renaissance-period castle in southern Germany, which was destroyed by a fire in mid-September, causing damage estimated by police at several million euros. The roof of the structure has already been removed and its charred beams have been stacked in the yard of the house, as construction of a new temporary roof is being completed. The 16th-century Schloss Ebelsbach, the main landmark in the small Barvarian village of Ebelsbach, was built between 1564 and 1569 by Baron Matthew von Rotenhan. The fire, which occurred on the night of 10 September, proved particularly difficult to control and also destroyed the gardens and a number of outlying buildings of the castle that was originally surrounded by a deep moat. The owner of the house since 2000 is reported to be a Cologne-based businessman.

October 30th, 2009

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions, Mailing list reports


August 8, 2009

Art Collection Burns, and Officials Offer Reasons


WASHINGTON — Although water pressure in two city fire hydrants was less than 20 percent of what it should have been, city officials said Friday that that was not the reason firefighters could not save a home that contained one of the country’s largest private collections of African-American art.

The fire on July 29 gutted the home of Peggy Cooper Cafritz, a political activist, former school board president and one of the founders of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, the lack of water pressure forced them to go five blocks to find a hydrant with sufficient pressure. Nearly 100 firefighters battled the blaze, but when they made it to the second floor of the home, the water pressure was still so low that they had to back out and attack the fire from the exterior.

The two hydrants first used by firefighters produced only 323 and 296 gallons per minute of water during subsequent testing, well short of the 1,643 gallons needed to battle a fire of that size, city officials said Friday.

But fire officials added, in a preliminary report on the fire, “While low water flow unquestionably impacted the time needed to put out the fire, it is not clear that higher water pressure would have saved the house.” In the last two years Washington has had a spate of fires that have leveled major landmarks, including the historic Eastern Market, the Georgetown Library and a large condominium in the city’s popular Adams Morgan neighborhood, raising questions about the preparedness of the city’s fire department and the local water authority.

Ms. Cafritz’s eight-bedroom home on Chain Bridge Road in Northwest Washington was a common site for political fund-raisers and soirées. For the last two decades, Ms. Cafritz also had amassed a collection of works by important artists, including Kara WalkerKerry James MarshallCarrie Mae WeemsEl AnatsuiShinique Smith and Yinka Shonibare, a Nigerian artist who will be the subject of a major exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art beginning in November.

The report sought to reassure city residents by pointing out that the Cafritz fire, whose cause is unknown, involved a unique set of circumstances and challenges.

The unusually large house, about 15,000 square feet, was mostly engulfed when firefighters arrived, and it was at the top of a steep hill, making water pressure weaker. The house was also relatively remote, making it impossible to pull water from multiple water mains as firefighters prefer to do, according to the report.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty echoed that view.

Mr. Fenty said the water main serving Ms. Cafritz’s neighborhood was too small to deliver enough water.

“Now, should the government have known that and made changes?” the mayor said. “That may be a criticism that has merit, but there are age issues in this system, there are topography issues on Chain Bridge Road, there are isolation issues on Chain Bridge Road, which makes this an exception.”

The City Council is expected to hold a hearing on the fire in mid-September.

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August 8th, 2009

Posted In: African Affairs, Fire in cultural institutions

Nico Hines

A fire was burning inside the 17th Century College of Arms in Central London this afternoon, leaving thousands of historic documents at risk.

The college building, which was constructed in the 1670s, houses the official records of the coats of arms of British and Commonwealth families dating back to 1530.

Eight fire engines were tackling the blaze today on Queen Victoria Street in Blackfriars, with parts of the third and fourth floors of the six-storey building alight.

A spokesman for the London Fire Brigade said that no historical documents were so far reported lost or damaged in the fire but the curator at the college is working closely with fire crews to preserve historical manuscripts held in the building.

The college building, which is just south of St Paul’s Cathedral, replaced Derby Place, which burnt down in the Great Fire of London in 1666.

As well as the official records the college holds a number of collections. These include an extensive library of printed genealogical and heraldic works and manuscript collections dating from the 14th century.

The office is a branch of the Royal Household but it is a working profit-making organisation responsible for registering family trees, coats of arms and researching and identifying heraldic crests. 35 people were evacuated from the building and a further 100 people were moved out of adjacent offices.

A fire service spokesman said: “Eight fire engines and around 40 firefighters yare tackling a blaze at a six storey office building on Queen Victoria Street in the City. Parts of the third and fourth floor are currently alight.

“Fire crews from Dowgate, Islington, Clerkenwell, Soho and Euston are attending the incident.”

February 5th, 2009

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

Spalding Gentlemen’s Society had a lucky escape when an arson attack at its museum only caused minimal damage to the building and left its priceless artefacts unscathed.

Fire crews from Spalding were called to the Broad Street museum just before 2am on Thursday morning after a window had been smashed and a curtain set alight.

Police believe the offender lit cloths with a cigarette lighter and threw them through the window.

The blaze was put out by caretaker Graham Cupper, leaving damage to the curtain and windowsill and smoke in two rooms but no damage to its artefacts.

President Dr John Cleary said: “Mr Cupper did a very good job. He got to the fire and stopped it at the early stage before it got a grip.

“His prompt action really saved the day and we are very grateful to him.”

Mr Cupper said: “I only did my job but if I hadn’t been here it probably would have been much worse.”

The museum contains a range of rare items collected by members of the society, which was founded in 1710, including an oil painting of founder member Maurice Johnson as well as artefacts, such as pre-historic tools.

The building also contains a medallion, print and some Wedgwood items from Sir Isaac Newton, who was a member of the society in the early 18th century, as well as a bust of the famous scientist, which is on loan from Lincoln Cathedral.

Dr Cleary said: “In that part of the museum all of the objects are behind glass in cases so the smoke hasn’t damaged anything.

“We are very pleased that even though it was a dreadful event there is no great lasting impact.”

He said the society will look to step up security and also praised fire and rescue and police for their help.

A 21-year-old Spalding man was arrested and has been released on bail until January 19 pending further inquiries.

January 12th, 2009

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

Drunk worker reportedly starts fire in Moscow museum
Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:25pm GMT

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A drunk electrician started a fire at a world-famous Moscow art museum after he fell asleep while smoking a cigarette, a police source told RIA news agency Sunday.

The blaze at Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery started in an engineering building next to the main gallery Saturday and damaged technical equipment but not any of the museum’s valuable art works.

A police source told RIA that a 49-year-old workman had caused the fire, but a spokeswoman for the Moscow museum said it was too early to say what started the blaze.

“According to preliminary reports, the man fell asleep with a lit cigarette when he was drunk,” RIA quoted the source as saying.

“He is now in a hospital intensive care unit and it is not yet possible to take a testimony on the accident.”

The gallery houses some of the best-known Russian art, from 9th century Orthodox icons to 19th century impressionism and portraits of famous Russian writers.

One of its most famous paintings, by the 19th century painter Ilya Repin, depicts a tortured Ivan the Terrible after he killed his son in a violent rage.

January 11th, 2009

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

Versicherung zahlt 5 Millionen Euro für verbrannte Bücher

06. Januar 2009 Der Versicherungsstreit um Millionenzahlungen für verbrannte Bücher der Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek Weimar ist beigelegt. Danach erhält die Klassik Stiftung fünf Millionen Euro von dem Hauptversicherer Axa Art, wie ein Sprecher des Landgerichts Erfurt am Dienstag mitteilte. Beide Seiten hätten sich nach monatelangen Verhandlungen außergerichtlich geeinigt.

Der Betrag ist ein Viertel der von der Klassik Stiftung ursprünglich geforderten Summe von 20 Millionen Euro. 750.000 Euro hatte Axa zuvor bereits für zerstörte Gemälde und Plastiken gezahlt. Bei dem Feuer in dem Unesco-Weltkulturerbe im September 2004 waren 50.000 Bücher und 34 Gemälde verbrannt, 62.000 Bände wurden beschädigt.

January 6th, 2009

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

Associated Press – December 19, 2008 10:55 AM ET

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – State officials are checking damage after an overnight fire in the boiler room of the State Library in Pierre.

It happened on the first floor, where renovation work is being done.

Bureau of Administration Commissioner Jeff Bloomberg says sparks from a concrete saw apparently started a fire that smoldered for some time before it was discovered around midnight.

Governor’s press aide Joe Kafka says there doesn’t appear to be any structural damage, but smoke damage is extensive.

Information from: KCCR-AM,

December 19th, 2008

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions


LOS ANGELES (AP) — A wildfire burned 100 acres of brush and grass near the world-famous Getty art museum before it was doused early Thursday without causing any damage or injuries, fire officials said.

Nearby Interstate 405 was closed for about four hours but reopened at 6 a.m., as the morning rush was getting underway. Even so, traffic on freeways and surface streets throughout Los Angeles were clogged, jammed with motorists who had sought ways around the fire.

The fire erupted around 12:50 a.m. on a steep urban hillside about two miles from the Getty Center.

The center, which houses one of the world’s richest art collections and a research institute, was closed for the day as a precaution, and nearby Mount St. Mary’s College canceled morning classes.

About 400 firefighters and eight water-dropping helicopters fought the flames for about seven hours before the blaze was declared knocked down at 8:16 a.m., Fire Department spokesman Ron Myers said.

Crews were expected to remain at the museum throughout the day to douse any remaining embers that could flare up if dry, hot Santa Ana winds returned, Myers said.

The museum is about 10 miles west of downtown Los Angeles.

Many areas of Southern California were under National Weather Service warnings of extreme fire danger until Saturday evening because of heat and low humidity, but Santa Anas were diminishing.

A blaze at the base of Mount Baldy, about 40 miles east of Los Angeles, burned 115 acres Thursday afternoon. It was about 30 percent contained by evening.

The fire was burning uphill and away from nearby homes, said Jesse Estrada, a battalion chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

On Wednesday, gusty Santa Ana winds drove a 250-acre wildfire in Fontana and the canyons of Rancho Cucamonga, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

The fire was 90 percent contained Thursday but no flames were visible and authorities expected to completely surround it by evening, state fire officials said.

October 24th, 2008

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

By Deanese Williams-Harris and Dan P. Blake.
Chicago Tribune reporters.
September 20, 2008.

A Chinatown landmark that houses the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago was heavily damaged Friday by an extra-alarm fire, officials said.

The museum, which opened in 2005 in a former warehouse and grocery, had become a repository for photos and artifacts donated by community members.

The fire was reported shortly before 2 p.m. in the upper floors of the four-story building at 238 W. 23rd St., said Eve Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Fire Department. Flames could be seen shooting through the roof, she said.

The exhibits and artifacts were on the first and second floors, fire officials said.

“We did what we could,” Rodriguez said. “We laid tarp on the exhibits located on the lower floors.”

She said she did not know whether any exhibits were damaged.

Mary Ann Wong, a volunteer nurse at St. Therese Catholic School across from the museum, saw heavy smoke billowing from the roof and notified school officials. She later saw flames shooting out of the second-floor windows.

Her family, like many in Chinatown, donated photos and artifacts when the museum opened about three years ago.

“It’s so hurtful because the museum was part of our history,” Wong said. “Several families donated items so our children could learn about their history. There’s nothing else to give. A lot of that stuff was irreplaceable.”

The museum is run by the non-profit Chinatown Museum Foundation. Attempts to reach museum officials were unsuccessful.

Students at St. Therese Catholic School often used the museum, Wong said. It houses rotating exhibits, including artwork and writings, and serves as a research and education center.

Some consider the building, which was constructed in 1896, a neighborhood landmark. It was a warehouse and a grocery for decades before becoming a museum.

“A lot of us in Chinatown are aware of our history, when we were good enough to work here but not good enough to bring our families,” Wong said. “Just because you’re Chinese and you’re accepted doesn’t mean you always were. I learned this on my own, but our children need this museum so they can learn the lessons of the past.”

Wong said crews had been renovating the museum and that it was closed Friday.

September 21st, 2008

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

Friday, July 18, 2008By John Agar

The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS — A rooftop fire Thursday at the Van Andel Museum Center created a spectacle downtown, with an aerial truck and fire rigs surrounding the museum, but caused little damage to the structure and none to the exhibits.
About 300 people — young summer campers, visitors, staff — evacuated when alarms sounded just before 1:30 p.m. The departure was orderly, and some children stayed cool by going into the nearby Days Hotel.
Museum officials believe a contractor, replacing the 15-year-old roof, touched off the fire with a torch. The initial fire was put out. 

Acting Grand Rapids Fire Battalion Chief Tim Szotko said firefighters initially were told the fire was out, but they found fire inside the roof. Once the blaze was knocked down, firefighters searched the roof and walls to see if it had spread.
Museum spokeswoman Rebecca Westphal said many exhibits inside — everything from mourning rings given to President George Washington’s pall bearers to the whale skeleton — are “irreplaceable.”
To ensure no danger remained, firefighters planned to stay overnight at the museum. A private gathering was scheduled there later Thursday. 

Fire officials said they also were mindful of the heat. 

“This is the kind of stuff you’ve got to be careful in,” Deputy Chief Jeff VanDellen noted. “Anytime the weather gets to the extremes, you pay attention to the amount of time you have them working,” he said of fire crews.

— Press staff writer Pat Shellenbarger contributed to this story.

July 19th, 2008

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

Berlin – The roof of Berlin’s Philharmonic Hall caught fire Tuesday, forcing the orchestra to break off a matinee concert and prompting a major call-out of firefighters to confine the blaze. A matinee concert was under way at the time, Peter Riegelbauer, chairman of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, said.

No injuries were reported as the audience and musicians were evacuated.

Thirty metres of the roof of the landmark golden building smouldered, enveloping the area in smoke. There were no open flames, witnesses said. Welding work on the roof had been under way just before the fire.

The asymmetrical theatre close to Potsdamer Platz is the home of Berlin’s leading orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.

Emergency services deployed more than 20 fire engines including a 50-metre telescopic extension truck to extinguish the fire from above, with some of the 170 firefighters using chain-saws to cut open the sheet-metal roof to spray more water.

A spokeswoman at the hall said insulation material in the roof had apparently caught fire during the welding work. The insulation is above the hall’s concrete ceiling.

Musicians evacuated expensive instruments from the building, which also houses a musical instrument museum. There were fears the water used on the fire would cause far more damage than heat and smoke.

Fire services spokesman Marco Trenn said the fire was confined to the roof area.

A rehearsal by the main orchestra scheduled for later Tuesday was cancelled. The orchestra had been set to perform on Saturday under the baton of its former conductor, Claudio Abbado, who retired in 2002.

Abbado had been in the building at the time the blaze began on Tuesday.

The 2,200-seat building, designed by Hans Scharoun, opened in 1963 close to the Berlin Wall.

May 20th, 2008

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

May 17 (Bloomberg) — A fire that destroyed the architecture- faculty building at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands may lead to the loss of 40,000 books and illustrated works from as early as the 17th century.
As many as 300 people had to be evacuated on May 13 after the fire, the cause of which is unknown, started on the sixth floor of the building, the university, located in the central-western Dutch town of Delft, said on its Web site. There were no casualties.
The demolition of the 13-story facility will take place in such a way that the library, located in the adjacent low-rise building, can be entered to try to recover material, Karen Collet, a spokeswoman for Delft university, said today in an interview.
“The chance we’ll be able to empty the library isn’t very big, but we’re going to try,” Collet said. “The material may have water and smoke damage.”
The library’s collection includes old plans of Dutch towns and cities, topographical prints and architectural drawings, according to the Web site. Firemen managed to rescue the faculty’s collection of chairs, including work from Dutch architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, and a large part of the scale-models collection.

To contact the reporter on this story: Martijn van der Starre in Amsterdam at
Last Updated: May 17, 2008 12:12 EDT

May 17th, 2008

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

Shay Nordal is beginning to think if it wasn’t for bad luck the Selkirk Marine Museum would have no luck at all.
One year after floodwaters almost forced the permanent closure of the historic site, the museum manager was forced to dial 911Wednesday morning after sparks from a welders torch started a small fire on the museum’s cornerstone ship, the Keenora.
Nordal said the welding was being done to put a new safety rail on the ship’s boat deck. Despite the efforts of a “fireman” on hand with a spray can to douse sparks, some fell the equivalent of two stories over the side of the ship and onto the cargo deck.
Nordal said the sparks found their way under the metal covering of the gunwail and onto the tinder-dry wood beneath.
With water pipes at the site still frozen, members of the Selkirk Fire Department were called in and hosed down any smoldering embers in short order.
“The ships was built in 1897 so the wood is a little dry,” Nordal smiled. “We had taken precautions by having someone else there but these things can start quickly.”

Nordal said it could have been much worse. With the Keenora the centerpiece of the museum, if it was to catch fire, the museum would lose approximately 80 per cent of their displays.
“The items in there are irreplaceable,” Nordal said.
Last spring, ice jams caused the Red River to rise over one metre in a two-day period – within inches of 1996 flood levels, the highest ever recorded in Selkirk – causing thousands of dollars in damage to the museum. Water not only filled the lower levels of the larger ships, destroying what remained in their holds, two vessels broke away from their foundations with several fishing boats strewn about the site and damaged in the ice.
As if the unsanitary water from the Red wasn’t enough, flood water breached the Selkirk lift station behind the museum rendering it useless, sending raw sewage into the museum shop and exhibits.
Doors and door jams swelled, mud covered everything and expanded floorboards buckled. Damage to the buildings and ships was bad enough officials said the museum might never open again.
The museum’s restoration became a source of community pride as numerous businesses large and small donated everything from cash and cleaning equipment to employee manpower in an effort to repair the damage.
The museum was able to open for business July 23 with four of the six ships open to the public.
With Wednesday’s fire causing only minor external damage, Nordal said she and emergency crews were able to laugh about the latest mishap and chalk it up to bad timing.
“One of the firemen was joking that last year we had all that water and this year we didn’t have any to put the fire out,” Nordal laughed.

April 18th, 2008

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

Die neun Versicherungen sollen fünf Millionen Euro an die Klassik Stiftung Weimar zahlen, schlägt das Gericht vor. Das ist ein Viertel der umstrittenen Summe. “Der Ausgang ist völlig offen”, sagte der Vorsitzende Richter Karl-Heinz Buus beim Gütetermin. Der Versicherungsvertrag ist seiner Meinung nach nicht eindeutig formuliert. Strittig ist, ob die Versicherungssumme für die Bibliothek bei 20 Millionen oder nur 2,5 Millionen Euro lag. Bei dem Feuer im September 2004 waren 50.000 Bücher und 34 Gemälde verbrannt, 62.000 Bände wurden beschädigt. (more…)

January 29th, 2008

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions

Die Weimarer Klassikstiftung klagt nach dem Brand in der Anna Amalia Bibliothek mehr als 13 Millionen Euro von ihrer Versicherung ein. Nach Angaben des Landgerichts Erfurt vom Dienstag wehrt sich die Versicherung gegen diese Forderung, da die Bücher nicht unter den Versicherungsschutz fielen. Er umfasse nur ausleihbare Gegenstände. Der Zivilprozess beginnt an diesem Mittwoch vor dem Erfurter Landgericht. (more…)

January 22nd, 2008

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions, Mailing list reports