Copenhagen: A fire raced through a sports
arena in the Danish capital on Wednesday, destroying most of the 73-year-old building just hours before a sex fair was to open, officials said.
About 20 people involved with the erotic trade fair, who
were sleeping inside the K B Hallen arena when the blaze
started, managed to get out safely.
Three people were hospitalised with smoke inhalation, but
they were discharged later today, firefighter spokesman Lars
Thick smoke billowed from roof of the arena, forming a
large plume that was visible over most of Copenhagen. The
blaze most likely started when overheated light bulbs set fire
to nearby cardboard boxes inside the 1938 arena, police
spokesman Lars-Christian Borg said.
K B Hallen has hosted several international tennis and
badminton tournaments, boxing matches, concerts and
exhibitions. Tennis greats including Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe
and Boris Becker have played inside the arena.
Louis Armstrong, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones have
all performed there. Firefighters said the blaze was under
control by midday in Copenhagen.
The fire forced organisers to cancel a five-day sex fair,
showcasing adult movies, magazines and sex toys, that had been set to open at K B Hallen today.
"I am about to lose 3 million kroner (USD 546,500) in
equipment," event organiser Kenneth Strandby told the TV2
Adjacent to the arena are two soccer fields that are used
by FC Copenhagen for training, 26 tennis courts and three
eateries. None of them were affected by the fire, police said.
The arena was named after Koebenhavns Boldklub, one of
Europe`s first soccer clubs, founded in 1876. In 1992, it
merged with rival team Boldklubben 1903 to become FC
Copenhagen, which has relocated to another part of the city.