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Sunday, August 22, 1999 Published at 19:02 GMT 20:02 UK

World: Europe

Irreplaceable film archive destroyed in Berlin

A fire at the archives of the German ZDF television channel in Berlin is believed to have destroyed irreplaceable historic film, including footage of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

The stations programme director , Reinhard Grindel, said he feared almost all the film was lost, and there had been no copies.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but arson has not been ruled out.

ZDF says two windows in the building had been broken, and the fire appeared to have started in more than one place. A BBC correspondent in Berlin says the fire comes weeks before the tenth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and will hamper the work of journalists and filmakers to mark the event.

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