Europe, Environment

Firefighters struggle to contain blaze at bomb disposal site in Berlin forest

Explosion at bomb disposal site triggers fire, German authorities shut down parts of A 115 highway

Ayhan Simsek   | 04.08.2022
Firefighters struggle to contain blaze at bomb disposal site in Berlin forest Credit: https://twitter.com/Berliner_Fw

BERLIN

Firefighters are struggling to contain a fire in Berlin’s Grunewald forest triggered by an explosion at a bomb disposal site, German authorities said on Thursday.

Berlin’s fire department said more than 100 firefighters are at the scene, and additional units have been requested.

As the site of the fire is highly volatile, fire crews are staying at a distance while working to make sure that it does not spread further.

“The fire is far from being under control at the moment, which worries us a lot,” Berlin fire department spokesman Thomas Kirstein told reporters.

He said firefighters have to proceed with extreme caution as explosions are continuing at the bomb disposal site.

German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, were asked to send armored vehicles to help battle the challenging fire.

Berlin’s police chief Barbara Slowik said the cause of the fire at the bomb disposal site, where old ammunition and confiscated illegal fireworks were stored, was still not clear.

“We are trying to get to the site with the fire investigators as quickly as we can. It is not possible at the moment to determine at what time it happened, and what was the cause of the fire,” she told reporters.

“We will be able to answer all these questions once we are able to enter the site and begin our investigation there,” she added.

The flames have so far affected two hectares (five acres) of the forest, but have not reached houses or businesses, according to the fire department.

Extremely high temperatures around 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) and dry conditions in the forest were complicating efforts to extinguish the fire.

Locals were advised to keep doors and windows shut due to smoke.

Authorities closed down parts of the A 115 highway, and train services were suspended in the area as a precautionary measure.

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