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Fire destroys buildings at Stockholm's KTH

Published: 04 May 2011 14:53 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 May 2011 17:22 GMT+02:00

A fire broke out in the auditorium of the School of Architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm on Wednesday, destroying a number of buildings.

The team of firefighters battling the blaze had expanded to 75 by the afternoon as the battle to extinguish the blaze continued. One of the firefighting team was taken to hospital during the morning after sustaining a hand injury.

The fire broke out early Wednesday morning in the institute's architecture school on Östermalmsgatan in central Stockholm with the roof of the main lecture hall quickly filling with smoke.

Firefighters battled throughout the day to bring the blaze under control and prevent it spreading to other parts of the university's buildings and there are fears that there is a risk of a building collapse.

"It is a building which is difficult to put out as there are large halls," said Åsa Dehlin at the Stockholm fire service.

Large amounts of smoke were reported in the vicinity of KTH which is located in the Östermalm area of central Stockholm. Traffic was diverted around the location during the day.

Stockholm's fire service reported that it had no information regarding the smoke and whether it could contain any poisonous substances but advised local residents to keep windows and doors closed as a precautionary measure.

There are currently no details on whether anyone has been injured in the fire nor how it started. The affected buildings have been evacuated of staff and students.

Around 600 students and 130 members of staff are affected by the fire at the School of Architecture. The school will remain closed on Wednesday and KTH are as yet unable to say how the immediate future will develop.

"We are going to have a meeting at 2pm and at the earliest 4pm will we be able to give details of the evacuation," said Peter Larsson at KTH.

In response to question as to what would happen to the students soon scheduled to graduate if their work had been destroyed in the fire, Leif Brodersen at the school replied:

"That we have to discuss, there are a few months remaining. But we follow all the examination work and the events of today have to be taken into account. Our goal is that students should not be affected."

The architecture school is part of the Royal Institute of Technology, which is one of Sweden's top seats of learning.

KTH was placed fourth in a recent ranking of Swedish colleges and universities. Astronaut Christer Fugelsang, actor Dolph Lundgren and financier Ivar Krueger are among some of its more celebrated alumni.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:44 May 4, 2011 by Åskar
For the sake of beautifying the city one can only hope that the building burns down to the ground.
11:30 May 4, 2011 by avatar
Major fire, really? i am sitting here at KTH in my office and came to know about the fire only after reading this news.
11:45 May 4, 2011 by Shibumi
I'm at Hotorget and the acrid smell of smoke has been in the air- even in our office- all morning.
11:58 May 4, 2011 by stenhuggaren
maybe u should look out your window, avatar
12:32 May 4, 2011 by avatar
yups, a colleague of mine just pointed me to white smoke coming out of a nearby building. It looks quite controlled now. thankx to wet weather today.
12:57 May 4, 2011 by Åskar
@avatar

Take a look at Expressen's or Aftonbladet's web page. It does definitely not look as if it's under control.
15:11 May 4, 2011 by TheOriginalBlackMan
Smelled smoke while I was at Fridhemsplan. Must be a bad fire.
21:55 May 4, 2011 by 4everlive
Saw some smoke from the 30th floor of the Kista Science Tower
23:00 May 4, 2011 by delusion1982
I even saw and smelled the smoke even while hiking in the mountains of Scotland
00:10 May 5, 2011 by laviniutza
@delusion1982

you made my day
17:28 May 6, 2011 by mbss
Students and faculty who have come to see this building as "home" also come to appreciate it--as home--but few have ever appreciated the rather egotistical statement made by its designer to literally brutalise the calm residential neighbourhood in which it was built.

Even rather odd inner detailing, including a metal sprial staircase that barely allowed users decending to pass those ascending..but was a principal access point to every floor. The social areas and cafe are as cold and hard as the building's exterior. Even the hallways, despite their larger size are dark and cold. And the entrance to the school is more like the rear fire escape on a New York flat in Harlem than what one might expect of a top-ranked architecture school--or any school for that matter.

I hope that the incident will catalyse the early completion of the newly planned building which is set to be built on the main KTH campus some 4 blocks from the current site.

Most unfortunate in this event is the damage to internal property and projects, but the fact that no one was severely injured and that the library and archives survived is good news indeed.
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