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Massive fire leaves KTH student body reeling

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Massive fire leaves KTH student body reeling
10:18 CEST+02:00
The fire that raged though the School of Architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm on Wednesday have left the student body in the lurch with the loss of vital workshops.

“We have lost both a wood workshop and a very well equipped digital workshop,“ Simon Tullstedt of the Student Union told The Local.

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.

The fire was finally under control in the late evening, with some 80 firefighters on the scene.

Around 600 students and 130 members of staff were affected by the fire at the School of Architecture.

"I am very pleased that no students or staff were hurt in the fire. We will now do our utmost to minimise the effect on the school's activity," the principal Peter Gudmundson said in a statement on Thursday.

The school reamained closed on Wednesday and there was an information meeting for students and employees at the school on Thursday morning.

At the meeting the Fire Service reported that the library had not been damaged too extensively by the fire.

Thursday's meeting also revealed that all university servers were functioning as they should and all data had been backed up.

According to Tullstedt, the worst case scenario would have been if students had lost work stored in the workshops.

“If any students have left exam projects in the workshops they would of course be lost, but I haven't had confirmation of any such cases yet “ said Tullstedt.

The future of the building, which has been referred to as 'the ugliest house in Stockholm' is now uncertain.

"If the building is heavily damaged the chances are it will be removed completely and the discussion is bound to crop up as it always makes the top of the list of Stockholm's most hated buildings," Martin Rörby of the Council for the Protection of Stockholm's beauty, told daily Dagens Nyheter.

According to Jarmo Carlsten at the information department of the Swedish Fire Service, the firefighters had hoped to have the fire under control at a much earlier stage.

“But unfortunately the construction of the old building was such that the fire could spread,” he told The Local.

The cause of the fire is still unknown but the police fire unit have started their forensic investigation of the site. So far, there are no indications of arson.

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