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Barcelona's Sagrada Familia (Dimo Dimov)

Barcelona's Sagrada Familia set ablaze

19th April 2011

1,500 tourists have been evacuated from Barcelona landmark after suspected arson attack

Furnishings were damaged and 1500 tourists evacuated after a 'disturbed' man set fire to the sacristy of Barcelona's historic Sagrada Familia earlier today.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire before any stone work was damaged although four workmen were taken to hospital after inhaling smoke.

A Catalan police spokesperson said that it was a tourist that saw the smoke and called the alarm.

"They also saw someone who emerged from the sacristy who is the person that has been detained," she said. A lighter and cloth were found in the sacristy. Several lighters were found on the 55 year-old-man detained.

The Sagrada Familia is widely regarded as Catalan architect Antonia Gaudi's masterpiece and is arguably Barcelona's most famous landmark.

Gaudi worked on the project for more than 40 years, devoting the last 15 years of his life entirely to the project. Before this setback it was estimated that it would take another 15 years to complete the structure.

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