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Facade of Copenhagen stock exchange collapses after fire

The facade of Copenhagen’s historic former stock exchange has collapsed, rescue services said, as firefighters continued to battle a blaze that broke out on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, there has been a collapse of the facade,” Copenhagen’s rescue service said in a post to X, formerly Twitter, adding that all workers had been evacuated from the scene and no injures were reported.

Only the outer walls of Denmark’s Old Stock Exchange remained after flames engulfed the building and caused the roof to collapse in the devastating fire, Danish officials had said.

The blaze that ripped through the 400-year-old landmark, toppling its spire in a scene reminiscent of the 2019 fire at Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral, was still burning in some hard-to-access places.

Police investigating the incident said it could take months to determine the cause. No one was hurt in the fire.

Roughly half the Dutch Renaissance-style building was saved, although massive damage still occurred as fire fighters had drenched it in water.

Centuries-old artworks saved from blaze

Art conservators are assessing the damage to centuries-old paintings recovered from the blaze, the National Museum of Denmark said.

As the blaze ripped through the Copenhagen landmark, passersby jumped off their bicycles to help firefighters, conservators and soldiers retrieve valuable paintings.

“It had to be fast,” Nina Wajman, a curator at the National Museum of Denmark, said.

Conservators retrieved paintings from the half of the building that had not caught fire, while firefighters in smoke-helmets and soldiers of the Royal Life Guards recovered paintings from the part that was ablaze, hastily loading them onto trucks.

“They might not have done it in the way an art expert would, but that’s minor, I think,” Ms Wajman said.

She entered the building to recover a portrait in oil of Christian IV, Denmark’s 17th-century king who oversaw the construction of the building, which was originally built for trading in commodities.

“I wasn’t sure that it had been rescued, so I went in to look for it and it was still there,” she said.

Some paintings were severely damaged by water or fire or because they were hastily torn off the walls.

Conservators are still inspecting the paintings, which were brought to a depot of the National Museum, and are trying to get an overview of the damage and what is missing.

“We had great focus on the valuables inside the building. But the problem was that I needed all my firefighters to contain the fire as long as we could,” Jakob Vedsted Andersen, head of the fire department in greater Copenhagen, said.

“So we had to ask people for help to bring out the paintings and the sculptures,” he said.

Employees at the nearby Danish Chamber of Commerce, including its CEO, helped to carry paintings as big as 3 metres wide into a section of the nearby Christiansborg palace.

Klavs Lockwood, a local, was at the site early on Tuesday.

“These paintings were very big and heavy, so I quickly offered my help,” he said.

He said the painting he helped carry had been torn in several places.

“You could see it was taken off the wall in a hurry.”

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