Fire guts UNESCO-listed church in Haiti
Updated: Apr 14, 2020
According to reports, on Sunday, April 12th, 2020, the Royal Chapel of Milot, a Haitian monument listed as World Heritage by Unesco, was devastated by a fire on the night of Sunday to Monday, said the director of the Institute for the safeguarding of the national heritage.
The dome of the building, about thirty meters in diameter, completely collapsed during the fire, the origin of which is still unknown.
“The fire started at around 3 am in an annex building, according to what someone who was there told me,” said Mr. Patrick Durandis, director of the National Heritage Preservation Institute.
“We were waiting for the firefighters who were there but who unfortunately could not intervene for various reasons.
It is difficult for us to have clear ideas to intervene suitably on this building, especially since we are caught elsewhere by the epidemic of coronavirus”, said Mr. Patrick Durandis.
According to local officials, Patrick Durandis and other officials said they don’t know how the fire started. During the fire, Firefighters came to save the historical building but it was too late, sadly, their help did not prevent the building from burning and destroyed.
“Saturday and Sunday, there was no electricity in Milot so I find it hard to understand that the dome of the church caught fire.
We cannot say that it is a short circuit: it has to be investigated right away. Even the park was closed due to the coronavirus epidemic, it is hard to understand.”, said Mr. Patrick Durandis during a press conference about this tragedy.
The royal chapel at Milot was built between 1810 and 1813 on orders from Henri Christophe, the hero of the Haitian war of independence who proclaimed himself king in 1811.
It was restored once before, in the 1930s, and underwent emergency repairs in 2018 to fill in large holes that had opened up in the roof of the dome.