Fireman, fireman – illustration photo
Banská Štiavnica – A large fire broke out in the square in the center of Banská Štiavnica in central Slovakia this morning, which damaged seven historic buildings before the situation was stabilized. Now the firefighters are still extinguishing the roof of the geological museum, said acting Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger and President of the Fire and Rescue Service Pavol Mikulášek at a press conference at the scene of the event.
“Many roofs burned down, in some (buildings) even entire floors,” the Prime Minister declared. However, there was no injury to health or loss of life.
Mikulášek informed that the firemen were eliminating local outbreaks; he anticipates that they will be on site at least until Sunday morning. “Experts have begun to investigate the possible causes of the fire. At the moment it is premature to speculate about them,” he added according to the Pravda.sk server.
Heger thanked the professional and volunteer firefighters, rescuers and soldiers who were called to help. He also praised the work of volunteers who helped transport valuable documents to safety. According to the prime minister, the government will do everything to restore the damaged buildings to their original state. “It is a jewel of our cultural heritage, a lot of tourists come here. We want this city to be able to continue to prosper from this,” he said.
The fire started in a historic building that houses a tourist attraction called Banka lásky – a museum of what is said to be the longest love poem Marín by Andrej Sládkovič, which offers those interested to deposit their own memories of love in mailboxes. Later, the fire spread to the archive building, the primary art school, the so-called Berggericht building, and the pizzeria. The historic part of the city is a monument reserve and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Czech Republic offered help.
“The exact cause of the fire is not yet known, but it is probably a short circuit in the electrical wiring,” the police said. “The situation is very serious,” she also said.
According to police spokeswoman Júlia Zeleňáková, the flames engulfed the roof of the building where the fire started. She then fell into the attic. The flames also damaged a building known as the Berggericht, which houses a mineralogical exposition, theSlovak Ministry of the Environment announced. According to him, the buildings of the Slovak Mining Museum, which its employees are evacuating, are also at risk. The Minister of Culture, Natálie Milanová, previously pointed out that the roofs of five national cultural monuments had burned down.
Military firefighters also intervened on the scene, and another 80 soldiers also arrived to help, Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Naď reported.
President Zuzana Čaputová expressed her regret over the damage in Banská Štiavnica, who described the city as one of the most beautiful in Slovakia. “A big thank you goes to the professional and volunteer firefighters, soldiers and all the willing people who are trying to get the fire under control,” she said on Facebook.
Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský offered help to Slovakia. “We are in contact with the Slovak side. The Czech Republic is ready to help immediately,” he wrote on Twitter.
It is important that nobody was hurt, said the mayor of the city, Nadežda Babiaková. He believes that despite the great damage, historical buildings will be able to return to their original beauty. Culture Minister Natália Milanová compared the fire to the apocalypse. “The restoration will take a longer time, but I believe that our preservationists and all those who will participate in the renovation will work as well as the firefighters and soldiers did today,” she said.