World

Fire rips through maritime museum in Indonesian capital

Jakarta: A fire ripped through a 17th century Dutch colonial building that houses a maritime museum in the Indonesian capital today, causing extensive damage to its historical collections.

Museum head Husnizon Nizar said there were no casualties from the fire that swept through one of the museum's three historic buildings.

It took about four hours for fire fighters to extinguish it.

Nizar said the blaze destroyed models of Dutch East India Company ships, traditional Indonesian vessels and a newly installed diorama showing the history of World War II in the Java Sea.

"We have lost so many significant historical collections in the fire," he said.
It was the second building calamity to hit Jakarta in two days. Yesterday, a mezzanine floor in the Indonesian stock exchange tower collapsed, injuring nearly 80 people.

Safety laws are often inconsistently enforced or even completely ignored in Indonesia, a poor and sprawling archipelago nation.

In October, a blaze at a fireworks factory near Jakarta killed more than 50 people, mostly young female workers. A police investigation found numerous safety lapses.

The cause of the museum fire is being investigated. The three buildings that house the museum in the old Sunda Kelapa harbour area in north Jakarta were built as warehouses in the 17th century by the Dutch East India Company. They underwent restoration and renovation last year. -AP

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