Fire damages oldest building at Tsinghua

08:53, November 15, 2010      

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A blaze engulfed a 99-year-old building at Tsinghua University, one of China's leading seats of learning in Beijing, early on Saturday. No casualties were reported.

The fire broke out at about 1 am at "Tsinghua College", a German-style building that spreads across 800 square meters, and was put out at 3:15 am, said officials of the fire brigade with the Beijing public security bureau.

The college building's front stonewall is intact but the ceiling has collapsed and many walls have been damaged.

The "Tsinghua College", from which developed the current Tsinghua University, was built in 1911 and is now considered a historical site with State-level protection.

As firefighters struggled to put out the blaze, students, professors and even alumni kept pouring in to pay a visit to the scene.

"It (the building) is a great symbol of the university's architecture. My husband and I even had our wedding photos taken in front of it," said a 27-year-old woman surnamed Liu, who, along with her husband, graduated from the university's automation department in 2005.

"The news of the fire was shocking. We were planning to revisit the university during the coming centennial celebration," she said.
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