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Humboldt Forum, Berlin, 2019. Photo: Humboldt Forum.
Humboldt Forum, Berlin, 2019. Photo: Humboldt Forum.

Firefighters Extinguish Blaze at Berlin’s Humboldt Forum

The long-delayed, $700 million Humboldt Forum project in Berlin faced another setback after a fire erupted at the massive museum on Wednesday. The New York Times reports that the blaze was caused by two tar cookers that exploded before 10 AM this morning. The blast, which the Berlin police department said seemed to be an accident, injured a worker. While the flames produced high plumes of black smoke that billowed over the city and may have damaged the entranceway of the building, which is still under construction, around eighty firefighters who were dispatched to the site were able to quickly contain and extinguish the blaze.

Michael Mathis, a spokesman for the museum, did not comment on whether the incident will prompt the 430,000-square-foot museum to push back its grand opening this fall. “We’re also facing coronavirus, and what that means for the opening in September,” he told the New York Times. Nonessential businesses, including museums, have shuttered across Berlin because of the coronavirus pandemic, however, construction workers are permitted to work despite the lockdown. Firefighters gave laborers at the Humboldt Forum the green light to continue working on another part of the museum while safety checks are carried out.