The athletics centre of Budapest’s Sports University burned down on Thursday early morning, causing millions of forints in damages, Lajos Mocsai, the university’s rector, said.
The indoors facility caught fire just before 5am on Thursday and an adjacent wall fell down along a ten-metre section, the national disaster management agency said on its website. Firefighters managed to control the fire with water cannons within a little more than an hour, the report said. The roof of the 3,000 sqm hall fell in, destroying it completely, Mate Kisdi, a spokesman for the disaster management agency, said. Some 250 students from a nearby dormitory had to vacate their building in the early hours, but since then they have been able to return to their rooms, Kisdi said. There are traffic restrictions on nearby Alkotas road, but the road remains passable, he added.
Rector Lajos Mocsai told public news channel M1 that the university would be closed on Thursday but resume lessons on Friday. Several institutions in the local 12th district have offered to host classes, he said. Damages are estimated in millions of forints and many relics of sports personalities have been destroyed in the fire, Mocsai said. An international symposium organised in the hall for Thursday had to be cancelled, he added.
Mayor of the 12th district Zoltan Pokorni told MTI that “the most important thing was that nobody was injured in the fire”. He added that the local council would help the university in recovery efforts. As a first step, the nearby MOM Sports Centre will take over classes for up to 25 hours a week for a year, he said.