Fire broke out at the Berlin Philharmonic about 2pm Tuesday (20 May), as audience members were leaving a concert in the foyer.
Musicians arriving for rehearsal rushed in, hoping to save their instruments stored in the hall.
No injuries were reported. Former music director Claudio Abbado was in the hall when the fire broke out, but he escaped unharmed.
Orchestra administrators had expected significant loss of irreplaceable instruments, many uninsured, and extensive damage to the structure. However, about 50 instruments were rescued Tuesday. Other large instruments were stored in an area under the hall and were well away from the area involved, which was near the roof. Fire fighters used foam instead of water, which also helped to minimize damage.
The cause is under investigation, but is thought to have been stray sparks from welding work that had been earlier performed on the building’s distinctive metal roof. The roof also hampered efforts to fight the fire.
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