Fire engulfs historic Polish cathedral

A huge blaze engulfed the tower of a 700-year-old Gothic cathedral in the western Polish city of Gorzów Wielkopolski.

Firefighters contained the flames on Sunday night, 24 hours after they were first reported at 6:30 pm on Saturday, a fire department spokesman said.

He added that officers remained at the scene to ensure the fire was fully extinguished, while construction experts assessed the tower’s stability.

The

The Gorzów Wielkopolski Cathedral in flames. Photo: PAP/Lech Muszyński.

Up to 170 firefighters were involved in putting out the fire.

The blaze damaged the tower’s clock face, copper dome roof and probably much of its historic timber construction, and it is likely that water used in fighting the fire may have damaged the cathedral’s pipe organ and the tower’s interior.

But precious items from inside and nearby the tower had been saved, the fire department spokesman said.

The

The cathedral tower’s burned-out interior. Photo: PAP/Bartłomiej Mądry/PSP Gorzów Wielkopolski.

Police are expected to launch an official inquiry into the causes of the blaze on Monday.

The cathedral dates as early as 1297 but the 40-metre tower was built in the 17th century. The church lies in the heart of Gorzów Wielkopolski, which marks its 760th anniversary this year.

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