Today, after 16 hours of firefighting, rescuers have finally managed to extinguish the fire in a two-story building of the Ukrainian Engineering and Pedagogical Academy in the historical center of Kharkiv.
The sad incident stirred great fuss among Kharkiv activists, historians and NGO leaders as this building is part of the ensemble of the city’s oldest houses put up at the end of the 18th century. The whole architectural monument has national historical value including the oldest stone inn, the Governor’s Palace, created by the first Kharkiv architect Petro Yaroslavsky in 1777.
It was this very building where the Kharkiv Emperor University was located in the 18th century. Currently, it is occupied by the Ukrainian Engineering and Pedagogical Academy.
The fire started yesterday at about 3 p.m. in the Chemical faculty block and spread around the premises’ area of over 800 square meters. Observers report that by this morning the roof and the second floor were practically destroyed and civic historians and activists charge Kharkiv officials of neglecting the city cultural and architectural heritage and its premeditated destruction. Also, some people note that old Kharkiv buildings located in the downtown, where the land is very expensive, have been destroyed, ruined or set on fire too often recently.
Criminal proceedings are opened for violation of fire safety regulations as the ignition was caused by repairs and renovation works held in the university. A 35-year-old employee of Ukraine’s State Service for Emergency Situations, who took part in firefighting, was hospitalized having got a heat stroke.
Text: Olena Sokolynska