How old breweries die

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On Monday evening between 8 and 10 p.m., many Prague citizens stood by their windows and stared at a mighty glow and masses of smoke carrying sparks southwards over the roofs of the Vinohrady residential quarter. One of those who watched Prague's most destructive fire of the past ten years was Vladimir Tax.

Living in Vinohrady, we were alarmed by dozens of fire engines and police cars rushing up the hill past our house.

the burned-out brewery
It was hard to establish where the reddish glow and heavy smoke was coming from. Later, we learned that what was termed the most destructive fire of the decade burned to the ground an old, disused brewery, leaving only smouldering remains surrounded by broken outer walls.

The brewery, originally comprising several adjoining four-storey buildings, had flammable roof constructions that served as a bridge for the fire to spread, the head of the fire investigation team explained. The cause of the fire has not yet been established.

People who knew the old brewery say it was a nice piece of architecture. The owner, a private firm, was just about to start renovating it. As in similar cases throughout the city, they will now erect a new, glass-and-steel building in its place and the good old face of Prague's Vinohrady district will never be the same.