On Wednesday, the Berlin Fire Department reported a blaze in a new building connected to Berlin’s city castle. The building stands on the Palace Square in central Berlin, just off Alexanderplatz. It is a reconstructed copy of the old royal and imperial palace of both the Kingdom of Prussia and the German Empire.
The fire department stated that one person was reported injured and that at least 80 firefighters were working to put out the fire. A spokesperson for the city fire department told the newspaper, Bild, that the fire must have started after an explosion that took place outside the castle.
German media reported, just before lunchtime, that the fire was coming under control. A photograph posted by the fire service on Twitter showed black smoke rising in front of the entrance to the new palace from a construction area cordoned off from the main road.
The Berlin Palace was a building in the centre of Berlin, located on the Museum Island at Schlossplatz. From the 15th century to the early 20th century, the Berliner Schloss was a royal and imperial palace and served mostly as the main residence of the Electors of Brandenburg, the Kings of Prussia, and the German Emperors.
During World War II, the castle was twice struck by Allied bombs on 3 February and 24 February 1945. On the latter occasion, when the air defence and fire-fighting systems of Berlin had been destroyed, the building was struck by incendiaries, lost its roof and was largely burnt out. It was demolished by the East German government in the 1950s. The palace is currently being rebuilt, with completion expected in 2020.
Construction on the palace started in 2012. The building, which will house a museum and cultural centre, is due to open later this year. The costs for the building have risen to 644 million euros from an initially planned 552 million, with federal state funds meeting most of the bill.