Latvian presidential palace Riga Castle ablaze

21 июня 2013, 18:20
Firefighters were called Thursday night to a massive roof fire at the centuries-old Riga Castle, normally the seat of the Latvian president but currently under renovation, AFP reports.

No one was believed to be injured or killed, state fire services spokeswoman Viktorija Sembele told AFP.

"It is serious because it is an historic building in Old Riga," she added, saying the cause was not yet known.

Witnesses told AFP that large sections of the roof were ablaze with several fire engines attempting to bring the flames under control as hundreds of onlookers watched.

"It covers approximately 100 square meters (1,100 square feet) and work is ongoing with more than 10 fire crews present," Sembele said.

"The army was also asked to help with a helicopter capable of dropping water from the nearby River Daugava."

She added that a cruise ship moored by the castle was moved to enable firefighting boats to bring water over to the scene.

Riga Castle, parts of which date from the early 13th century, houses the National History Museum and normally also the offices of Latvian President Andris Berzins.

But because of ongoing renovation, the offices have been temporarily moved to the Blackheads House, another historic landmark in the Latvian capital.

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