GENEVA, Switzerland — A fire burned for nearly three hours Thursday at the Sacré-Coeur Church in Plainpalais, destroying the attic and severely damaging the nave of the iconic 1859 landmark of the city centre.
More than 50 firefighters in 23 emergency vehicles battled the blaze in extremely high temperatures from 15:44 until 18:45 when the fire was finally declared under control (see the incredible images here).
The church hosts a large Spanish-speaking Catholic community that receives mass in Spanish but that also uses the upper floors as a community centre where courses are also given.
Other community events held there include the twice annual International Children’s Clothing Sale.
Images and videos of the blaze quickly spread through social media, including those seen here below from Iceman Le Photographe and the GHI newspaper Editor-in-Chief.
Fortunately, no one was injured, albeit the restaurants, a school dorm and bank nearby had to be evacuated and traffic was diverted which made public transportation in the area a nightmare.
A police spokesperson said the interior of the church has been completely destroyed by the fallen debris and water.
The cause of the fire is unknown.