Local authorities report that a fire badly damaged a 15th century Ottoman mosque overnight. The mosque, located in the town of Didymoteicho in Greece had been undergoing renovations at the time.
There was no work in progress at the time of the fire; however, officials suspect that the fire broke out in connection to a similar, contained fire that reportedly took place during welding. They say it’s likely that the blaze reignited after being initially contained.
Over 50 firefighters were required to contain the fire. Detection by a fire suppression system or alarm within 10 to 15 minutes of the initial blaze can ensure that a fire department can effectively limit the damage to a building. However, this fire proved to be particularly devastating to the structure. It is likely, due to the damage, the mosque’s fire burned for a long time.
Initial reports show the wooden roof had been severely damaged if not nearly entirely destroyed. As of yet, the building has been deemed not safe to enter, with firefighters continuing their work to make sure the building’s minaret does not collapse.
Arson was considered as a possibility, though further investigation is needed once the building is proven to be structurally sound. The head fireman of the Thrace region bordering Turkey, Nathanail Rigas, states,”For the moment there is no indication that arson was involved.”
The Bayezid Mosque, named after Sultan Bayezid I, is the largest monument in southeastern Europe and has immense historical and architectural importance. It is considered a monument and thus is no longer used for prayer.
It is suspected that once the building is proven to be safe and any investigation is closed that there will be attempts made to restore what the fire had destroyed. No further information has been given as of yet.