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Friday, 17 August, 2001, 09:58 GMT 10:58 UK
Viennese concert hall burns down
Vienna skyline
Vienna is home to the historic Sofiensale concert hall
Vienna's historic Sofiensale concert hall has been destroyed by fire.

The venue in central Vienna caught fire late on Thursday and 150 firefighters were needed to bring the blaze under control.

The alert was sounded by a group of musicians who were rehearsing in the main room of the hall when they saw smoke coming from the roof.

Herbert von Karajan
Karajan conducted at the Sofiensale
Six members of the music group tried to quell the flames using buckets of water before firefighters arrived on the scene.

Firefighters had to work through the night to completely extinguish the flames.

The fire destroyed all but the outside walls of the music hall, said the fire service.

Alert

Nearby houses were also evacuated.

Viennese authorities have now launched an investigation into the cause of the blaze.

Composer Johann Strauss and conductor Herbert von Karajan once staged concerts in the hall, which is of major historical importance.

The building has since been used as a venue for a wide range of events including the Vienna jazz festival and has even become a popular nightclub.

Artists who have played there in recent years include the Vienna Art Orchestra and Tricky.

See also:

30 Mar 01 | Arts
La Fenice's troubled history
30 Mar 01 | Europe
Two jailed for Venice opera arson
23 Dec 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Vienna's Christmas mix
Links to more Arts stories are at the foot of the page.


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