In the evening of 24 May, 2004, a fire broke out in the Momart storage warehouse in London. The warehouse was in a large industrial building that also housed other businesses. The warehouse was sublet from a household moving company. The fire, which continued to smoulder for nearly a day, destroyed almost all of the artworks stored within. As well as works from other collections, items from the Saatchi collection of so-called Britart were lost.
Arson investigators determined that burglars started the fire in an attempt to cover up the theft of consumer electronics from one of the other businesses in the building.
Art industry insiders noted that the insurance value of the works lost in the fire would be many times their initial purchase price, and that a comparable rise could be expected in the market values of the remaining works by artists whose works were lost.
The company that ran the art storage depot that went up in flames destroying hundreds of pieces of Britart may have paid out secretly tens of millions of pounds in damages to leading artists, collectors and insurance companies.