The Hogwarts Great Hall From 'Harry Potter' Catches On Fire, Adding To An Already Rough Week

Harry Potter devotees, hang onto your hats: just when you thought the series of unfortunate events that is 2016 might finally give us a breather, Oxford University's Christ Church Hall, aka Hogwarts' Great Hall, caught fire on Saturday. Lancaster University's Professor Linda Woodhead was an eyewitness at the scene and tweeted the event, so there are some inside details about the accident. She's already identified the culprit that started the fire — "a hot plate!" According to Entertainment Weekly, the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue service confirmed that the hot plate used to serve food started a fire, which lasted an hour before they were able to make it to the building. Meanwhile, Cherwell Online reported four fire engines were required to battle the fire and luckily nobody was hurt, while another ostensible eyewitness, chaplain Emma Percy, has tweeted that "damage is limited" — thank goodness.

And if Rowling wanted to line up a scene at Hogwarts for Fantastic Beasts , could she? Actually, the fire wouldn't pose too much of an issue, even if it had burned down the dining hall (although that would have been awful). Since the dining hall was so often used as a backdrop during shooting in the Harry Potter franchise, eventually the studio cut their losses and opted to recreate Christ Church Hall in the London studios.

This made sense, since it wasn't just the dining hall that was necessary — the grand stone stairway at the entrance of the hall also was featured in many of the shots used in the film, including the arrival scene for the new Hogwarts students in the first two films. So it's no wonder that back in 2012, the college hall reported a boom in the number of tourists visiting Christ Church Hall and Cathedral (attached to the hall), with the BBC citing a rise to 350,000 tourists per year.

Still, it's a sad day for Harry Potter fans regardless. Hopefully the beautiful building will be repaired in no time.

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures