Latvia's Sigulda Castle loses interior details in fire

A fire in the RERE Meistari workshop has destroyed historical interior details dating back to the 1930s from the New Castle in Sigulda, according to the State Inspection for Heritage Protection on February 19.

As it turns out, the fire happened in July 2019, but the company overseeing the restoration work, RERE Būve 1, only informed the Sigulda district municipality half a year after the incident. The company said that the fire at the subcontractor’s workshop was an act of arson and promised to make new interior details.

“We’re talking about interior decorative design elements in eight rooms, which together make up one artistic monument. Currently we’re trying to understand if they’ve been completely or partially destroyed,” said the inspection’s Administrative Development Department Director Baiba Mūrniece.

The inspection has requested an explanation and is currently evaluating further steps for bringing the person responsible to justice. Only after receiving more information will they be able to fully assess the damage. RERE Meistari were asked to restore wall panels, radiator panels, wooden steps and doors.

The subcontractor sent RERE Būve 1 a letter listing the lost elements, which included several decorative radiator panels from several rooms, cloakroom wall panels and decorative wall panels. Apparently the devices carrying the digital restoration documents, photos and reports were also burned in the fire.

"A criminal process has been initiated in regards to the accident, and the investigation process is ongoing,” the letter also said.

The company’s foreman Juris Grodņa explains their reluctance to inform the responsible institutions immediately after the accident: “What I was most concerned about in this situation was that with a quick report we could incite an unnecessary uproar. We understand that we didn’t inform them, that is our direct mistake, but it’s how each person perceives it.”

The fire is still under investigation, but criminal proceedings have begun.

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