Fire Breaks Out at Santander Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

The collection, which includes Goya's 1814 portrait of King Fernando VII, will be relocated as a precaution.

Exterior of the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum in Santander. Photo courtesy @museoMASsantander via Facebook.

This morning at around 5:30 a.m. CET, firefighters and police were called to Santander and Cantabria’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Spain due to smoke billowing from the top of the building.

The blaze broke out on the top floor of the museum. Thankfully, none of the artworks in the collection—which includes Francisco de Goya’s 1814 portrait of King Fernando VII—were damaged as the museum is currently undergoing renovations and works are temporarily stored in a bunker in the basement.

At around 10 a.m., Santander’s mayor, Gema Igual, tweeted that the blaze had been contained, writing: “The fire at MAS declared at dawn is under control. No one was hurt and the worker who was guarding the art collection is well. Firefighters are working on the inside on ventilation and searching for hotspots.”

About a dozen apartments in the block adjacent to the museum on Rubio street were evacuated, but residents have since been able to return to their homes.

As a precaution, the collection will also be moved to another safe location as soon as possible, while the rest of the museum is being examined. The cause of the blaze is as yet unknown but is being investigated by the city’s criminal police.

The museum has been closed to the public since February, while it is undergoing a €585,980 ($690,000) renovation project which includes roof repairs and the installation of an elevator to improve accessibility. 

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