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03 Dec 12

Serbia's National Theatre Caught Fire

A fire that broke out in the National Theatre of Serbia was quickly extinguished by fire-fighters, however the extent of damage is still unknown.

Nemanja Cabric
BIRN Belgrade

The century and half old building in the centre of Belgrade caught fire at midnight between Sunday and Monday. 

According to the fire department, a significant part of the main stage, as well as one curtain, went up in flames.

The police blocked the traffic in several streets around the theatre, and fire fighters arrived only few minutes after the call.

“Right after the call 16 vehicles with 57 fireman were sent to the scene. We needed this many people because the fire broke out in the city centre,“ said Mile Jovicic, the commander of the fire brigade.

Two security guards who were in the theatre as the fire broke have been treated for smoke inhalation.

The acting manager of the National Theatre of Serbia, Dejan Savic, said that the damage is not extensive, but that all of performances on the main stage will be cancelled.

However, the smaller stage “Rasa Plaovic“ escaped fire unscathed, so it will continue working normally.

Savic said for the Serbian news agency Tanjug that the most probable cause of the fire was faulty electric installations.

“Now we have to find money for the reconstruction and sort out with the insurance to repair the damage as soon as possible“, said Savic

The President of the Belgrade City Assembly, Aleksandar Antic, who immediately rushed to the theatre, said that damage estimates are not complete, and that they would also have to include damages inflicted by the water used to extinguish the blaze.

“It could have been much worse. The city will help with the damage repair,“ said Antic.

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