Fire Rages at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Art

The Moderna Museet is next door.

Firemen work on putting out a fire at the Royal Institute of Art located next to the Moderna Museet, the Museum of Modern Art, on September 21, 2016 in Stockholm. Courtesy of Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images.

A fire broke out at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Art yesterday afternoon, and 45 firefighters were still battling the blaze this morning, reports the Telegraph.

The institution, which focuses on the fine arts and architecture at the undergrad, grad, and post-grad level, is located near downtown Stockholm on Skeppsholmen island. The fire reportedly started on the fourth floor, and it quickly spread to the building’s attic and roof.

Swedish paper the Local noted that the initial area that caught fire was extinguished, but the situation deteriorated as the flames spread, blazing into the evening hours.

“We have absolutely no control over it,” Stockholm Fire Department supervisor Johan Winsnes told the Telegraph late on Wednesday. “I expect we will be here all night.”

Winsnes acknowledged that it was possible that the school would be completely destroyed, but rescue services assured area residents that fire was not in danger of spreading to nearby buildings. The university is located next to Moderna Museet, the city’s museum of Modern art.

“We’re fighting on to try and save the building, but we don’t know yet if we’ll succeed,” Stockholm emergency services manager Nils-Inge Karlsson added in an interview with news agency TT.

A large smoke plume hovers over much of downtown Stockholm today. Authorities advised residents to shut windows and remain in doors, while police shut off access to the island.

In 2014, a similar tragedy befell the Glasgow School of Art when its Mackintosh building was set alight due to an accident involving a canister of flammable expanding foam.

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