An expert was able to enter the dangerous explosive site in Grunewald with the support of the Bundeswehr. According to fire department spokesman Thomas Kirstein, the demolition expert was driven to the ammunition depot in an armored recovery vehicle to gather initial impressions.
These impressions are now being evaluated and used to assess the situation. It depends on whether firefighters are also allowed to enter the site.
The police supported the operation with water cannons
Great challenge for the fire department
Previously, the fire around the ammunition dump had been largely contained. “These fires have been nearly extinguished as of this morning,” Kirstein said. The situation at the blast site has not yet been defused. According to the police, 30 tons of explosive ordnance and ammunition from the Second World War and several hundred kilograms of fireworks that were confiscated on New Year’s Eve are stored on the large, cordoned-off site.
The freshening up of the wind could also be dangerous for further use. Embers could flare up again. 150 firefighters are still involved in extinguishing the fire on site. Kirstein emphasized that this fire was a “very special situation and challenge” for the fire department.
Slow advance using technique
The fire brigade had “almost everything that is available in Germany in terms of technology” approached, spokesman Kirstein continued. In the fight against the fire, the Berlin fire brigade relies on special vehicles from the Bundeswehr and remote-controlled extinguishing robots. These could both explore and delete the location.
Räumpanzer are also still in use
Cause of fire and protection of ammunition storage unclear
The ammunition depot has existed since 1950. Since then there have been repeated considerations to move it to an alternative location. Berlin’s chief of police, Barbara Slowik, said: “Currently, this explosive site is the only facility on Berlin property that can be approved with 80,000 square meters, far away from residential buildings, which was very useful for the fire brigade yesterday.”
Brandenburg also has hardly any resources for a joint blasting site in the Berlin area. “So far we haven’t found a way. Now there will be new talks.”
Nevertheless, Slowik emphasized that fighting the fire is currently more urgent than investigating the cause of the fire. The State Criminal Police Office (LKA) of the police must determine whether it was possibly arson.
Local traffic and motorways remain closed in the area around Berlin’s Grunewald.
los/se (dpa, AFP, Reuters)