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Fire Occurs at Denmark’s North Sea Museum

December 16, 2003

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) _ A fire broke out at Denmark’s North Sea Museum late Tuesday, destroying much of the building housing Europe’s largest aquarium. No people were injured.

Officials said they did not know yet the fate of the thousands of fish contained in the 1.2 million-gallon tank, a popular tourist attraction in Hirsthals, 170 miles north of Copenhagen.

``The flames are still engulfing much of the building,″ Mayor Knud Stoerup said. ``We don’t know whether the fish tank and the thousands of fish can be saved.″

Martin Riis, a spokesman for the North Sea Museum, told Denmark’s TV2 that the 18-inch-thick glass had apparently held.

The museum was closed for cleaning when the fire broke out shortly after 6 p.m. The cause was not known.

The museum, which had been scheduled to reopen after Christmas, averages nearly 280,000 visitors annually.

Most come to see the $16 million Oceanarium, which opened in 1998. The elliptical, 26-foot-deep tank features thousands of herring, mackerel, garfish and horse mackerel found off the coast of Denmark.

The museum, which itself dates to 1984, also serves as a research center.


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