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FIRE

Fire ravages historic village church

A fire has gutted a historic church in the mountain village of Valens in the canton of Saint Gallen.

Fire ravages historic village church
Photo: Saint Gallen cantonal police

Residents reported the roof of the parish church of St. Philip and St. James on fire at around 11pm on Wednesday, cantonal police said on Thursday.

A total of 60 fire fighters from Bad Ragaz, Tamina and Pizol arrived to battle the blaze, police said.

Investigators were unable to provide a precise estimate of the damage to the Catholic church other than to say it was extensive.

According to witnesses, the fire was first spotted near the chimney of the building, police said.

The church is a landmark in the community of 400, located not far from the castle ruins of a former Benedictine abbey in Pfäffers.

The forensic service of the Saint Gallen cantonal police force has launched an investigation into the cause of the fire.

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FIRE

Man dies in car fire at Jura petrol station on New Year’s Eve

Police in the canton of Jura are investigating why a vehicle caught fire at a petrol station in the village of Breuleux on Sunday morning, killing the driver.

Man dies in car fire at Jura petrol station on New Year’s Eve
Photo: Jura police
Given the size of the fire and the fact it took place in a petrol station, a large team of 30 firefighters and eight fire engines was sent to tackle the blaze, police said in a statement.
 
Residents of four nearby apartment blocks were evacuated and one elderly person in shock received medical attention. 
 
Firefighters were unable to save the driver of the car, who was found dead inside the vehicle. 
 
According to Le Matin, the victim was a local musician and guitar teacher who was due to perform during the New Year’s Eve event of a local restaurant later that day.
 
Investigations are ongoing to determine why the car – a hybrid Toyota, according to the paper – burst into flames.