Barcelona: Sagrada Familia church hit by 'arson attack'

Visitors wait outside the Sagrada Familia after the fire in the basilica

Related Stories

More than 1,500 people were evacuated from one of Spain's most popular tourist attractions, Barcelona's Sagrada Familia basilica, after an apparent arson attack.

Four people were treated for smoke inhalation after fire broke out in the sacristy of Antoni Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece.

A "disturbed" man was arrested after a group of tourists raised the alarm.

The basilica, a Unesco world heritage site, was later reopened.

Joan Rigol, the president of the Sagrada Familia's board of trustees, said the suspect had allegedly ignited priest's robes in the sacristy.

"He appears to be a disturbed man of around 55 who was found with several lighters in his pocket," he told journalists outside the church.

Sagrada Familia following suspected arson attack The Sagrada Familia receives more than two million visitors a year

Barcelona's mayor, Jordi Hereu, who rushed to the basilica after the fire, said: "The structure has not suffered any damage, but there was damage to furniture."

The Sagrada Familia, which receives more than two million visitors a year, was a church until it was consecrated as a basilica by Pope Benedict XVI during a visit to Barcelona last November.

Gaudi was a devout Catholic who spent decades working on the project after construction began in 1882. He died in 1926.

Architects estimate the basilica will need 15 years' more work before it is finally finished.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Europe stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.