Blaze scars Latvia′s Riga Castle | News | DW | 21.06.2013
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Blaze scars Latvia's Riga Castle

Latvian authorities say a blaze has extensively damaged Riga Castle, the medieval fortress that houses the Baltic nation's National History Museum.

The Latvian fire service said on Friday that water used to quell a major blaze in Riga Castle damaged items in the National History Museum, which is located in the medieval building.

The fire started late Thursday and raced through the castle's roof and second and third floors. Television footage showed flames extending high into the night sky. Firefighters and museum staff tried to save treasures.

The castle had been undergoing renovations. It normally serves as Latvia's presidential residence, but President Andris Berzins was staying elsewhere because of the renovations.

Fire service spokeswoman Viktorija Sembele said aside from one firefighter being treated for smoke inhalation, no other person was hurt. The cause of the blaze was not immediately known.

Ten fire crews fought for hours until they extinguished the blaze on Friday morning. A cruise ship moored next to the castle was relocated to enable firefighting boats to spray water at the blaze.

Parts of the castle date back to the 13th century.

ipj/jr (AFP, AP, dpa)

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