On January 18th, a fire broke out at the Brussels Center for Fine Arts, often referred to as Bozar. While no artworks were damaged in the blaze, the building sustained significant fire and water damage.
The cause of the fire is currently unknown, but it was largely contained in the roof of the Bozar, reminiscent of the fire that devastated Notre Dame in 2019. The blaze broke out on Monday and around 100 firefighters were required on scene to work to extinguish it. Smoke filled the air around the Bozar but there have been no reports of people harmed by the fire except for one emergency worker who was briefly admitted to the hospital after fighting the fire.
Henry Le Boeuf Hall, the Bozar performing arts venue, bore the brunt of the fire’s damage as well as water damage. According to Paul Dujardin, director of the Bozar, the recently restored organ in the hall was most damaged.
While any damage is sad news, the results of the fire could have been far worse. The Bozar is closed to the public on Mondays so there were no visitors to evacuate. Additionally, just days before the fire, an exhibition on dance and contemporary art was uninstalled from gallery space that was flooded with water during efforts to contain the fire.
“Our people are on site to make the necessary observations,” a representative for the Brussels building agency told Bruzz, a Belgian news source, noting that water damage will be more visible in the coming days. “There has already been a meeting this morning [19 January] with the fire brigade and Bozar to measure the impact of the damage on the Henry Le Boeuf Hall and the exhibition areas. But above all, to take the first, necessary measures to prevent further water damage.”
According to a statement released by the Bozar, the cause of the fire is under investigation. The Bozar also thanked the emergency workers for battling the fire and its community. “You blew us away with your countless emotional messages,” wrote the arts center. “We cannot stress enough how deeply we appreciate your support during these traumatic days, and we share not only your hopes for the future, but also a staunch resolve to overcome this.”
Due to the fire, the Bozar will be closed until January 25th according to its website.