In the Kampa Museum in Prague in U Sovových mlýnů Street, electrical wiring was burning in the technical room. Four fire brigades intervene on the spot. The flames did not spread to the exhibition space, but fumes entered them. After an agreement with the museum’s experts, it was not necessary to move the paintings from the valuable collection of the Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation. Some of them could easily damage the fumes.
“The technical room with the switchboard is burning. The flames are not spreading, however, the combustion products unfortunately penetrated into the exhibition space. We are trying to vent the exhaust gases with overpressure ventilation,” said firefighter spokesman Martin Kavka. Firefighters from the central and Smíchov stations as well as a unit from Prague Castle intervened on the spot.
More than 100 people had to go to a safe area, the lock chamber in front of the building was closed, police said. Rescuers treated one man on the spot, but his condition did not require transport to the hospital, said the rescue service spokeswoman Jana Poštová.
According to Kavka’s spokesman, firefighters got the fire under control relatively quickly. They had to take the cylinders out of the technical room. Due to fumes, they took pictures from the exhibition space together with the museum staff. “Burning products can be aggressive and damage paintings. We are finding out the extent of the damage, but the damage to the paintings will be, at least in the context of the fact that they will have to be cleaned,” Kavka told ČT. After consulting with experts, they finally decided that the paintings would not need to be temporarily moved to other premises.
We manage to get the smoke out of space relatively quickly. We cooperate with the museum staff, we find out what paintings must be safe. pic.twitter.com/INnd6iIf2W
– Firefighters Prague @ (@HasiciPraha) July 15, 2020
Prague councilor Jan Chabr (TOP 09) said that the damage to air conditioning and electrical installations in the Kampa Museum in Sovových mlýn in Prague will be in the order of tens of millions of crowns. The damage to the paintings is not yet known.
“I can’t estimate the damage to the paintings at all. But as far as technical things are concerned, we expect damage in the order of tens of millions of crowns. We assume that the air conditioning system is completely destroyed. As far as the main halls are concerned, we will probably have to solve the painting there. because the museum is not able to function without it, “said Chabr.
According to Chabr, part of the museum will still be able to function now, as the museum has two air conditioning units. One of them was not damaged. “However, as for the wing that can be seen from the Vltava, I’m afraid it will take a relatively long time. If we are optimistic, it will take a month, a month and a half, or worse,” said the councilor. .
The depositary must be in a safe place, warns Pospíšil
According to Jiří Pospíšil (TOP 09), chairman of the board of the Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation, which manages the building, the fire was, according to preliminary information, caused by a city employee who welded hinges in the technical room. The paneling of the room ignited from the flames. Kavka said the investigation was well under way, but did not want to comment.
The fire is supposed to be under control, but it is still not won. After the coronavirus crisis, this is another big blow … we’ll see what happens next.
– Jiří Pospíšil (@Pospisil_Jiri) July 15, 2020
He hastened them abroad, saying that he had only general information about the situation in the museum. “The air-conditioning units and technical facilities of the museum began to burn, which, if managed to keep them under control, would not affect the historic building of the museum itself, where the collections and works of art are stored,” he said.
Pospíšil confirmed that there were two cylinders in the burning building. He also added that the accident shows the danger of a situation where the depository with all works of art that are not currently on display is located in the same building. He has been negotiating with Prague for a long time about the possibility of building a depository in a safe place.
The museum exhibits and stores works from the valuable collection of modern Central European art by Jan and Meda Mládek. He has, for example, paintings by the pioneer of abstract art František Kupka, sculptures by Otto Gutfreund or works by other important artists from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and the former Yugoslavia. “If the fire could not be brought under control, it could have far-reaching consequences,” Pospíšil told ČT.