(24 June 2012)
A major fire has completely destroyed the 374 years old Wangduephodrang Dzong today. The fire started at around 4 pm, razing one of the oldest and historic fortresses to the ground. Since the Dzong was under renovation before the fire, most of the sacred relics, which were relocated, have been saved.
Intense heat from the flames which raged unabated for hours, made it impossible for the firefighters to go near the Dzong. Also, the Dzong’s structure which follows the counter of a ridge over the Punatshangchu made the task for firefighters difficult. The flames fueled by strong winds raged for almost three hours.
For hours, the armed forces personnel, De-Suups, PHPA’s staff and the locals tried to contain the blaze. No casualties have been reported.
Upon receiving the news, His Majesty the King and His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo rushed to the scene. The acting Prime Minister, Yeshey Zimba, along with the cabinet members and other officials were also at the scene.
The historic fortress was built in the 17th century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It was repaired in 1837 after a fire and an earthquake in 1897.