China / Society

Century-old church burns down in fire

Updated: 2014-07-28 20:40

Century-old church burns down in fire

This photo taken on July 28 shows Jiangbei Cathedral, in Ningbo city of East China's Zhejiang province, after a fire which broke out in the early hours of the morning and took firefighters two hours to extinguish. The church was built in 1899, during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). [Photo/IC]

NINGBO -- A fire destroyed one of China's oldest cathedrals in the early hours of Monday in the east China city of Ningbo, with no casualties reported, local firefighting authorities said.

The fire broke out at 12:50 am in the gothic-style Jiangbei Cathedral. The cathedral was built in the Jiangbei District of Ningbo, Zhejiang Province by a French bishop in 1872.

More than 50 firefighters spent two hours putting out the fire, but only the frame of the main building survived, according to the firefighting division under the city's public security department.

"The inside of the building is totally destroyed. It's a great loss. The church is such a beautiful building," a firefighter told Xinhua.

The church, a landmark of Ningbo, is a key cultural relic under state-level protection for its great historical and architectural value.

Fortunately, the bell tower and ancillary buildings were unscathed thanks to timely action by firefighters.

One church staff member who was staying in the building overnight said the fire first started at the altar, but he had no idea how it started.

Further investigation is under way.



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