It appears that a set of priceless treasures have escaped damage at a potentially-devastating fire at a Quebec City museum.

About 50 firefighters in Quebec City wrestled down a four-alarm fire that was accidentally set during roof repair work at the Museum of Civilization at about 12:45 p.m .Monday.

Nobody was hurt in the conflagration but it was feared that priceless valuables might have been lost to the flames and water.

"They was some roofing underway at the museum and that's probably the cause of the fire," said Quebec City Fire Department representative Jacques Perron.

"We have canoes, sculptures and clothing, a lot of pieces that need to be protected,” said museum representative Francois Plamondon.

"The good news in this string of bad news is that, at first glance, I think the works of art are not damaged," said museum director Michel Cote.

He said there was a lot of water on the floor of the museum, but noted a number of art objects were protected under glass.

"The firefighters also protected a number of objects and they came to consult us to find out which ones were our priorities," Cote added.

He said he expects the museum to be closed for at least one day, adding that about half of the museum will reopen quickly.

An exhibit of native art is being featured at the museum.

"We worked closely with native groups on the exhibition," Cote said.

"It's about our shared history with the aboriginals and we'll redo it because it's important to maintain contact with the native community."

He said the fire may have been caused by a motor that malfunctioned and that it was too early to evaluate the costs of the damage.

Annie Marmen, a fire services spokeswoman, said the flames were contained to the roof structure where crews had been working.

"The first information we got from 911 was that the fire was coming from where work was being done," Marmen said. "The first witnesses told us that's where it came from."

The museum, designed by Moshe Safdie and opened in 1988, is closed to the public Mondays but about 125 employees were inside when the fire broke out.

Fire at Quebec City's @mcqorg now under control but officials very worried about extent of damage to artworks @CTVMontreal

-With a file from The Canadian Press