Kondopoga, Russia, August 10, 2018
The 18th-century wooden Church of the Dormition in Kondopoga, Republic of Karelia, Russia was destroyed by fire this morning. Republic authorities have already promised to rebuild the church, and locals have begun to reach out and offer funds, reports RIA-Novosti.
Reports of the fire first appeared in social media, and were first received by the local fire department at 9:33 AM. The firefighters arrived by 9:41 PM, and the fire was put out by 11:50 AM. However, unfortunately, the church, built in 1774, could not be saved.
One firefighter suffered heatstroke during the operation and was taken to the hospital to receive first aid.
Karelian police officers, investigators, and criminologists also arrived on the scene. “It is necessary to determine the cause of the fire, and to establish the extent of the damage,” the Karelian Department of the Investigative Committee noted.
The official cause of the fire is not yet known, though there is a possibility that the fire was set by careless tourists. The church guard noted that he discovered the blaze just a few minutes after a group of tourists had left. The head of the local branch of the Ministry of Emergency Situations has also suggested that the fire burned due to intentional arson.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Department for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the Republic Julia Alipova arrived on the scene today as well. According to her, the extent of the damages will be determined in the near future, and whether the church can and should be restored.
The staff of a nearby church has stated that parishioners have already been calling to help restore the church, asking where to send money.
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