Smoking Slovaks Kindle Castle

By Will Godfrey 03/12/12

Two young boys experimenting with cigarettes inflict huge damage on a 14th century gothic fortress.

More smoke than they intended Photo via

Last week we reported on a tweaker's destruction of the world's fifth oldest tree. Now—in case further evidence were needed of the harm that smoking causes others—comes news that two experimenting boys set fire to an ancient Gothic castle in Slovakia that was erected in the early 14th century. The local lads, aged 11 and 12, were sitting on the grass below the walls of Krasna Horka castle on Saturday, attempting to light cigarettes. Instead, they set fire to the tinder-dry lawn and the castle was soon ablaze. The combined efforts of 84 firefighters saved most of the historical collections housed within Krasna Horka, which dates from at least 1333, but major structural damage occurred to the edifice. Cops have launched a criminal prosecution of the hapless kids for general endangerment, while the Prime Minster of neighboring Hungary is said to have offered financial help towards the repairs. "The castle's roof burned down completely, as well as the new exhibition in the palace and the bell tower," says a museum representative. "Three bells melted in the fire."

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Will Godfrey is the former editor-in-chief of TheFix. He was also the founding editor-in-chief of, and previously co-founded a magazine for prisoners in London. His work has appeared in Salon, Pacific Standard, AlterNet and The Nation among others. He is currently the Executive Director at FILTER. You can find Will on Linkedin and Twitter.