BERLIN (Reuters) – Firefighters in Berlin on Wednesday quickly brought under control a blaze at a royal palace being rebuilt at great expense in the centre of the capital.
Smoke rises over the Berlin Palace (Stadtschloss) in Berlin, Germany April 8, 2020 in this screen grab obtained from a social media video. TWITTER/ @AFTERLIFE277 / DAN via REUTERS
The fire service said in a Tweet that a propane gas canister had exploded and building materials and two bitumen boilers had caught fire. One person was injured and about 80 emergency services staff were on the scene.
Black smoke was seen billowing across the city centre but the fire service said it had the blaze at the Berlin Palace under control within 30 minutes.
A photograph posted by the fire service on Twitter showed smoke stains on the grand facade of the newly reconstructed building behind a building site cordoned off from the road.
Berlin police said there was no indication that the fire was started deliberately but investigators would look into the cause.
Construction started in 2012. The building, which will house a museum and cultural centre, is due to open later this year.
Costs have risen to 644 million euros ($699 million) from an initially planned 552 million euros, with the government footing most of the bill.
Prussia’s Hohenzollern dynasty used the 18th century baroque palace as its winter residence until the end of World War One when Germany’s last emperor, Wilhelm II, was forced to abdicate.
It served as a museum under the Weimar Republic but was largely neglected by the Nazis.
Badly damaged in World War Two, the East German communists later demolished it to make way for a grand square and a new parliament building, the Palace of the Republic. That building was razed in 2008 after much heated debate.
Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Madeline Chambers and Giles Elgood