The huge fire that devastated historic warehouses in the Tobacco Town precinct of Plovdiv has sparked a wave of public outrage, with a public protest flashmob held in Bulgaria’s second city on August 21.
Police began inspections at the site of the fire on August 21 while officials from the cultural heritage protection inspectorate at the Ministry of Culture were exepcted to arrive on August 22, to decide on options for restoring the buildings, local media said.
The buildings that severely damaged in the fire, which burnt for many hours into the night on August 20, are part of a group meant to be protected under Bulgaria’s Cultural Heritage Act.
Plovdiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office has initiated pre-trial proceedings againt unknown perpetrators.
The deputy head of the Interior Ministry regional directorate in Plovdiv, Georgi Georgiev, said that the fire had started in one place and he could not confirm that it was matter of arson. The necessary forensic investigation would be required to tell how the fire started and why, he said.
Plovdiv municipality said that on August 22, it would clarify who the owners were of the burnt warehouses, after checking the records over the years.
Slavcho Atanassov, a former mayor of Plovdiv who now heads the National Assembly committee on culture, said he was not aware who owned the warehouses.
“They are privately owned – this is a serious problem. From now on, much depends on the decision that the experts will take, whether the fire was deliberate, or happened because of other circumstances,” Atanassov said.