Reposted from NPR
Historic artifacts, including a copy of the proclamation of France's approval of the Louisiana Purchase and a yearbook from Fidel Castro's high school, were rescued Tuesday night from a four-alarm fire that damaged the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in St. Louis.
About 80 firefighters rushed in and out of the museum, housed in what was once the Third Church of Christ, Scientist, hauling out armloads of one-of-a-kind documents, manuscripts, statues and intricately carved wooden ship models, even as they battled 8-foot-high flames.
"They knew they were in a museum," Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It's like, 'Don't leave empty-handed. Grab something and get it out of here.' "
The blaze raged for about two hours, destroying much of the second floor of the 107-year-old Greek Revival building. The ceiling caved in while at least 20 firefighters were inside. "The entire ceiling came down around and on some of these guys," Jenkerson said.
No one was injured.
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