Friday, September 21, 2012

INNO 1967

I was searching through my slides the other day when I came across this nightshot from 1966. It is part of the frontage of INNO or L'Innovation, the large department store on the rue Neuve in Brussels.

The store itself was partly designed by the famous Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta in 1901.

In May 1967, six months after the photo was taken, the store burned down in a vast conflagration. Three hundred and twenty three people died and the cause of the fire has never been finally determined. Arson was suspected at one stage but it now seems to be put down to an electrical fault. The design of the building was such that the fire spread very quickly. Also there were no alarms and there was no sprinkler system.

Wikipedia has an entry and Sofei Vandenaemet, who grew up in Brussels, has some nostalgic postcards of Inno's beginnings at the turn of the twentieth century, but also some very graphic photos of the fire, on her blog.

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