Tuesday, 13 March 2012

14th century castle gutted in blaze sparked by two young boys

An historic 14th Century castle was gutted in a fire sparked by children trying their first cigarette.
Police say two boys set fire to some tinder dry grass at the foot of the imposing Krasna Horka in eastern Slovakia after sneaking in to the castle grounds to experiment with smoking.
Jana Mesarova, police spokesman for the eastern Slovak region of Kosice, said: ‘A unit sent to the site found that two local boys aged 11 and 12 were trying to light up a cigarette and because of careless use of safety matches, they set grass at the castle hill on fire.'
Children under the age of 15 cannot be prosecuted in Slovakia.
More than 80 firefighters were called to tackle the ensuing inferno which tore through the ancient hill-top building within minutes.
The castle's fraught caretakers rushed throughout the sprawling corridors and rooms trying to rescue some of the priceless antiques and works of art.

The Slovak National Museum wrote on its Facebook page that damage to the castle was extensive but about 90 percent of historical collections were saved.
A collection of contemporary photographs of the furnished castle premises, from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as oil paintings and various ornaments were brought out unscathed.

The museum said: 'The castle’s roof burned down completely, as well as the new exhibition in the gothic palace and the bell tower. Three bells melted.'
The castle is near the UNESCO-protected Domica Cave.
During 2010 and 2011, the castle underwent a major renovation and was re-opened to public in April, last year.


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