St. George Church Fire in Corfu: Historic 19th-Century Church Damaged by Flames

Front side of The Church of St. George in Old Fortress of Kerkyra in Corfu, Greece

On Monday afternoon, a fire broke out at the St. George Church situated within the Old Fortress of Corfu. The most recent updates indicate that the flames severely damaged the roof of the 19th-century church.

Upon receiving the alarm, the Hellenic Fire Department fire trucks were swiftly dispatched to combat the blaze. However, extinguishing the fire proved to be a challenging task. Fortunately, no injuries have been reported thus far. Preliminary investigations suggest that the fire may have been ignited by a double lightning strike, considering the incident's unique circumstances.

With a rich history spanning over 150 years, the church was constructed during the period of British Protection of Corfu. Its architecture mimics that of an ancient Greek temple, presenting a distinctive aesthetic. Originally serving Protestant worshippers, it eventually transitioned into a Greek Orthodox church.

Eyewitnesses, including officials from the antiquities tax office who were present at the scene, recount hearing a loud bang before rushing outside to witness the roof of the church ablaze. In response, eight fire trucks were immediately dispatched. The first priority for the firefighters and officials was to safely retrieve valuable religious icons and relics from within the church, ensuring their preservation and protection from the fire.

The firefighting efforts to extinguish the fire that engulfed the church faced a significant challenge due to the fire engines' inability to navigate through the moat surrounding the Old Fortress of Corfu. In response, the firefighters used a specially requisitioned crane to reach a height of 12 meters and successfully combat the blaze on the roof.

Preliminary assessments indicate that approximately one-sixth of the church's roof and ceiling, totalling 40 square meters, were destroyed in the fire. However, the remaining structure seems to have been spared from extensive damage. To prevent any potential reignition, fire department personnel closely monitor the remaining roof and ceiling for any indications of fire. They remain vigilant, as even a small blaze beneath one of the tiles could reignite and engulf the church again.

The investigative division of the fire department has initiated an inquiry into the cause of the fire.

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