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Firefighting tanks in action during a major fire in Berlin-Grunewald: World War II bombs ripped out of their holders

Created: 08/06/2022 04:46 am

In the middle of Berlin, a major fire is raging at a police storage facility for explosives. Now special technology should help in exploring the exclusion zone. The Grunewald News Ticker.

  • Fire in Grunewald : fire sites around the blasting site almost all extinguished.
  • Twitter video shows dangerous use: fire brigade had to withdraw from the ammunition depot in Grunewald.
  • Bundeswehr moves in: The army sends engineer tanks to fight the fire.
  • This news ticker about the major fire in Berlin’s Grunewald forest is continuously updated.

Update from August 5, 9:16 p.m .: The fire brigade made great progress in extinguishing the major fire in Berlin’s Grunewald on Friday, but the fire has not yet been completely extinguished. During the night of Saturday, the extinguishing work pauses, as a fire brigade spokesman told the AFP news agency on Friday evening. According to this, around 250 firefighters and a fire-fighting boat were previously deployed.

Major fire in Berlin-Grunewald: road closures will remain in effect until Saturday

Update from August 5, 8:28 p.m .: The road and rail closures due to the fire in Berlin’s Grunewald are expected to remain in force at least until Saturday. A change is currently not expected, the police said on Friday evening. The fire brigade had already imposed a safety radius of 1000 meters around the site on Thursday. This also applies to the A115 motorway and the S7 S-Bahn line that runs parallel to it.

Major fire in Berlin-Grunewald: soil in the blasting area up to 700 degrees hot

Update from August 5, 3:35 p.m .: According to the police, the ground on the blast site in Berlin’s Grunewald that had caught fire was still 700 degrees hot in some places on Friday. In order to reduce the risk of further explosions from remains of ammunition, these areas would have to be cooled with water, said police spokesman Thilo Cablitz. This was the result of an exploration of the site by a police demolition expert and experts from the Bundeswehr in a recovery vehicle in the morning.

In addition, two bombs from the world war, each weighing 250 kilograms, were torn from their holders on the blast site. Although they did not explode, they also got very hot and had to be cooled. The fire brigade and a special company with a fire fighting vehicle are in action for this.

The restricted area around the site and the closures of the motorway and railway lines were initially maintained on Friday. Only when the cooling is successful and the danger decreases can the restricted area be reduced to a radius of 600 meters and the motorway and railway lines then be released again, said Cablitz.

Rauchschwaden sind vom Teufelsberg aus über dem Grunewald in Berlin zu sehen
Plumes of smoke can be seen from Teufelsberg above Grunewald in Berlin © Paul Zinken/dpa

Major fire in Berlin-Grunewald: police demolition expert collects findings with robots

Update from August 5, 1:13 p.m .: After the big fire and violent explosions at a large blast site in Berlin’s Grunewald, the police explored the dangerous and cordoned-off area with the help of the Bundeswehr. According to fire brigade spokesman Thomas Kirstein, a police explosives expert was driven to the area on Friday morning with a Bundeswehr armored recovery vehicle. He had collected first impressions, these would now be evaluated and then the fire brigade would receive an assessment of the situation.

Depending on the result, a decision will be made as to whether firefighters are allowed to enter the site. It also depends on whether the closures on the nearby motorway around the Avus and the railway lines can be lifted again.

Berlin: Special vehicles are to fight the Grunewald fire on the blast site

Update from August 5, 10:58 a.m .: In the case of the fire in Berlin’s Grunewald, the fire brigade, police and army want to focus on the large explosive site in order to get a more accurate picture of the situation. Various special vehicles were brought up for this purpose on Friday morning. The fire brigade had “almost everything that is available in Germany in terms of technology” started, said their spokesman Thomas Kirstein: “We’re going big here today.”

The police demolition expert should drive up to the detonation site in a Bundeswehr armored vehicle and get a first impression of the external border and make an assessment. A fire fighting vehicle from a private company, which is designed for areas where there is a risk of explosion, is used. In addition, three robots from Lower Saxony, which can also extinguish, are to drive into the restricted area in the direction of the explosives site. Other armored recovery vehicles of the Bundeswehr were also used. The police wanted to fly their helicopter again over the area. Fire brigade tankers and police water cannons brought water.

Löschroboter der Feuerwehr stehen in der Nähe der Brandstelle im Grunewald, wo ein Feuer auf dem Sprengplatz der Berliner Polizei ausgebrochen war
Extinguishing robots from the fire brigade are near the fire site in Grunewald. © Christophe Gateau/dpa

Fire in Grunewald: fire sites around the blast site almost all extinguished

Update from August 5, 8:36 a.m .: The fire in Berlin’s Grunewald poses great challenges for the emergency services – but the basic protection of the capital is still guaranteed, according to the fire brigade. “It has worked very well so far,” said Thomas Kirstein, spokesman for the Berlin Fire Department, on Friday morning. In the meantime, there have also been other larger operations by the capital’s fire brigade. So far, no firefighters have been injured during the extinguishing work in Grunewald. Since Thursday, the emergency services have been fighting the fire that broke out at a police detonation site.

Update from August 5, 6.30 a.m .: The fire in Berlin’s Grunewald did not spread beyond the restricted area on Friday night. “The fires could be kept within the ring position,” said the fire department on Twitter on Friday morning. More special technology had arrived during the night, which could help to explore the exclusion zone. The fire department did not initially give any details.

On Thursday, the emergency services had drawn a restricted circle of around 1,000 meters around the blasting site where the fire broke out. The first extinguishing work was carried out within the security zone late Thursday afternoon. Task forces had watered the adjacent forest areas to make it more difficult for the flames to spread.

Grunewald: How did the fire come about?

Update from August 4, 10:45 p.m.: “That was a big topic here today: How can this happen?” The spokesman for the Berlin fire brigade, Thomas Kirstein, said in the evening in an rbb special about the major fire in southwest Berlin, which is probably the most urgent and at the same time an unanswered question. He pointed out that several buildings were already “on fire” when the fire brigade arrived. The police will take care of determining the cause. “We had several conversations with the demolition experts today,” said the fire brigade spokesman. Man determine in cooperation with the LKA in all directions.

An assessment of the situation on the blast site is urgently needed. and should be carried out “in the morning hours” by the Bundeswehr and the Berlin police. They want to “try to take pictures there so that the explosives expert can make an assessment,” Kirstein said. It is not unlikely that the Avus motorway will be closed on Friday, August 5th.

Major fire in Berlin: fire brigade fights with forest fire on the highway – emergency services dare to enter the restricted area

Update from August 4, 10 p.m.: The fight in Berlin’s Grunewald continues: As a spokesman has now announced, the fire brigade managed to keep the flames away from the Avus motorway. However, within the restricted area that had been created, the fire spread in a south-westerly direction. Based on aerial photos taken in the afternoon, the fire brigade came to the conclusion that the fire had increased from one and a half hectares in the morning to around 50 hectares. However, not everything in this area is on fire, some of it is just smoke, a police spokesman said.

Feuerwehrkräfte warten in der Nähe der Brandstelle auf ihren Einsatz. Mehrere Einsatzfahrzeuge stehen hintereinander am Straßenrand neben dem Wald.
Firefighters are awaiting deployment near the scene of the fire. © picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

During the course of the day, parts of the emergency team, in consultation with the police demolitions expert, ventured to within 500 meters of the blasting site to counter the fire; since 6 p.m., however, renewed detonations have penetrated the air. “What we are missing,” says a fire department spokesman, “is an assessment of the location of the detonation site.” Without this, the restricted area could not be reduced as hoped. Traffic on the Avus, like the adjacent rail traffic, will probably be interrupted until at least 6 a.m. the following day.

How did the fire in Grunewald come about? Forest manager is certain: “It could only have been an accident”

Update from August 4, 7.30 p.m .: As state fire director Karsten Homrighausen has now announced, the risk of further explosions has so far prevented part of the extinguishing work. If fires threaten to spread beyond the security area, they can be countered.

Im Wassernebel fährt das Polizeigefährt durch den Wald.
A police water cannon drives through Grunewald to support the fire brigade’s extinguishing work. © Wolfgang Kumm picture alliance/dpa

In the meantime, the head of the forestry department, Gunnar Heyne, has also spoken out. In the rbb-Inforadio he explained that the composition of the affected forest area differs a little from the vegetation found in Brandenburg, for example. “We also have pine there, but with a lot of deciduous wood in the shelter and fresher soil, so that the fire, at least I hope so, does not spread so quickly.” Heyne had an assessment of what damage could ultimately be expected from the fire just as little as information on how the explosions at the blast site came about. In his opinion, it could only be an accident.

Big fire in the Grunewald forest: All questions and answers about the forest fire in Berlin

Update from August 4th, 6.35 p.m .: The big fire in the Grunewald forest also heated up the spirits in Berlin. Location, cause of fire, criticism – questions and answers about the forest fire in the middle of the capital.

Fire in Berlin: Giffey sees no reason for evacuations

Update from August 4, 4:50 p.m .: Berlin’s governing mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) sees no need for evacuations despite the ongoing fire in Grunewald. “There is no personal injury to complain about,” said the SPD politician on Thursday after visiting the scene of the fire. “There is no need for evacuation of population,” she said. “We experienced that differently in Brandenburg, where entire villages had to be evacuated. That is not the case here because nobody lives within a radius of two kilometers.”

Giffey said the fire in Grunewald was an event that was unique in Berlin’s post-war history. The Governing Mayor interrupted her vacation to get an idea of the situation on site. It’s been burning there and around the Berlin police blast site since the early hours of the morning. The cause of the fire is still unclear. A video shared by Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb) on Twitter, among others, shows a violent detonation in the morning hours.

A security zone was set up within a radius of 1000 meters around the blasting site. “The bottom line is that we manage to narrow that safety circle, manage to keep the fire from going beyond that,” Giffey said. “I am very grateful that we are doing this in an interdisciplinary manner, i.e. together with the Bundeswehr and in close cooperation with the Berlin police and Berlin fire brigade,” said the Governing Mayor.

Forest fire now threatens Autobahn: Fire spreads towards Avus

Update from August 4, 4:15 p.m .: The Berlin fire brigade is preparing for the fire in Grunewald to spread. “We found that the fire continued in the restricted area,” said fire department spokesman Thomas Kirstein on Thursday. “We saw that the fire was already moving towards Avus. This can now be expected in the next few hours.” It can be assumed that the fire will continue to spread and that the smoke will also increase. The Avus in southwest Berlin is used as the northern section of the A 115 autobahn.

“We’ve pushed forward with all our might, but that’s a drop in the bucket,” Kirstein said. It is about being able to reduce the restricted area around the Berlin police blast site so that the fire brigade can get closer to it to extinguish it. So far, a safety radius of 1000 meters applies. There has been a fire on and around the blast site since the early hours of the morning.

Fire brigade starts extinguishing work: Bundeswehr uses special robots

Update from August 4, 3:05 p.m .: The fire brigade has started extinguishing the major fire in Berlin’s Grunewald. As a fire department spokesman explained early Thursday afternoon, two water cannons were used to extinguish the fire. A remote-controlled special robot from the Bundeswehr is also used. Equipped with four cameras and a gripper arm, the robot can get closer to the area of the fire, explained Brigadier General Jürgen Karl Uchtmann.

In addition, a police helicopter and a drone fly over the area. All of this should help the emergency services to get a clearer picture of the situation. Meanwhile, the emergency services in the capital cannot hope for fire-fighting helicopters from the Bundeswehr. As the authorities announced, these are not available because of the forest fires on the border between Saxony and the Czech Republic. Most recently, three NH90 Bundeswehr helicopters were involved in the extinguishing work in Saxon Switzerland.

Riesiger Waldbrand: Im Berliner Grunewald ist ein Großfeuer ausgebrochen.
Huge forest fire: A major fire broke out in Berlin’s Grunewald. © Kay Nietfeld/dpa

Twitter video shows dangerous use: fire brigade had to move away from the ammunition depot in Grunewald

Update from August 4, 2:45 p.m .: A video on Twitter shows the dangerous operation for the Berlin fire brigade in the night from Wednesday to Thursday, when the large fire broke out in an ammunition depot and the adjacent police detonation site in the Grunewald forest.

Journalist Alexander Fröhlich from the Tagesspiegel posted this on social media. It shows how the fireworks literally fly around the ears of the first emergency services on site. For safety reasons, the fire brigade had to withdraw its units in a corridor of almost one kilometer because explosive ordnance ammunition is stored on the site in addition to illegal fireworks. According to a police spokesman, some of the “munitions of war” that have been disposed of are also stored there. These are about defused duds from the Second World War.

Bundeswehr moves in: The army sends engineer tanks to fight the fire

Update from August 4th, 2:25 p.m .: In Berlin-Grunewald the Bundeswehr has now also arrived because of the major fire in the city forest there. Specifically: The army delivered a so-called “Dachs” armored engineer vehicle to the edge of the upscale district, which lies between the large district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and the Wannsee and the Havel river.

The Berlin Olympic Stadium is also located a little north of the forest. The Bundeswehr’s “Dachs” armored engineer vehicle was last used in the forest fire in Saxon Switzerland. The tank, which is based on the Leopard 1 chassis, can, among other things, clear obstacles with a clearing blade at the front. In Saxony, his job was to cut aisles in the forest floor so that the flames could not spread further. A large and massive backhoe also makes it possible to dig pits with the vehicle for the same purpose. The armor in turn protects the crew, which is not insignificant given the fire in the Berlin police ammunition depot.

Berlin: Ein Pionierpanzer Dachs der Bundeswehr kommt zur Unterstützung am Grunewald an.
Berlin: A tank engineer badger of the Bundeswehr arrives at the Grunewald for support. © Christophe Gateau/dpa

Fireworks and ammunition from World War II: According to the police, 25 tons were stored on a detonation site

Update from August 4th, 1:37 p.m .: In Grunewald, it continues to burn brightly around a blast site. According to the police, around 25 tons of fireworks or World War II ammunition, among other things, are stored at the detonation site. Controlled demolitions are scheduled there twice a year for several days, a police spokesman said on Thursday. There have been repeated attempts to look for other locations. Residents and emergency services had reported significant detonations.

Update from August 4, 1:09 p.m .: According to police chief Barbara Slowik, the cause of the fire in Berlin’s Grunewald is still completely unclear. “We’re trying to get to the scene with the fire investigators as quickly as we can,” Slowik said on Thursday at the scene. Residents and the emergency services would have noticed clear detonations. “But what exactly was the cause now will be clarified by the fire investigators.”

Fire after explosions in Berlin: extinguishing the fire continues to be difficult

Update from August 4, 12:26 p.m. According to their own statements, the fire brigade has now identified three to four embers from the air. “But we can’t fight them yet because they are in this danger area,” said a fire department spokesman for the n-tv broadcaster. Because of the risk of explosion, the fire brigade has drawn a blocking circle of around 1000 meters around the fire. A water supply has now been established around this radius. Should the flames approach these areas, they could be fought quickly.

The radius could last beyond noon, possibly even into the evening, it said. A Bundeswehr armored clearing vehicle and a robot could soon approach the detonation site and should give the emergency services a better overview from the ground.

Feuer im Berliner Grunewald brennt ungehindert weiter.
Fire in Berlin’s Grunewald continues to burn unhindered. © INA FASSBENDER / AFP

Update from August 4, 11:58 a.m .: It burns and burns in Grunewald. The fire brigade cannot extinguish the fire. The explosive material at the police blast site makes it impossible to get close to the fire. Hours after the fire broke out, cracking noises could still be heard from the direction of the blast site on Thursday morning.

Update from August 4, 11:15 a.m .: The emergency services in the fire in Berlin’s Grunewald cannot count on a Bundeswehr firefighting helicopter. Such is currently not available due to the forest fire in Saxony, said a fire department spokesman on Thursday in Berlin. A police helicopter, on the other hand, was in action in the morning and was initially concerned with giving the forces an overview from the air. Meanwhile, the fire continues to burn unabated.

Fire after explosions in Berlin: Autobahn Avus will probably remain closed all day

Update from August 4, 10:22 a.m .: The Avus motorway in Berlin is expected to remain closed all day due to the fire in Grunewald. The extinguishing work was difficult, said the police and fire brigade on Thursday morning. Regional and S-Bahn services to the west were also interrupted. The forest continues to burn uncontrollably on around one and a half hectares, said a fire department spokesman.

Schwarzer Rauch steht über Berlin von Berlin-Kreuzberg aus fotografiert.
Black smoke stands over Berlin photographed from Berlin-Kreuzberg. © Gerd Roth/dpa

Fire after explosions in Berlin: S7 and Avus motorway closed

Update from August 4th, 9.40 a.m .: The Bundeswehr is also used in the fire in Berlin’s Grunewald. As a spokesman for the fire brigade said, there are still large explosions on the square. Currently, the emergency services have withdrawn to 1000 meters. There are 100 firefighters and police officers on site. Other forces and special forces of the Bundeswehr are requested.

The railway announced on its website that both regional and long-distance traffic were interrupted. The S7 doesn’t work either. The Avus motorway, Kronprinzessinnenweg and Havelchaussee are closed in this area. Residents should keep windows and doors closed – ventilation and air conditioning should be turned off. “We are currently in the consultation and observation phase,” the spokesman said.

Mega fire in Berlin after explosions at the blast site – “steel beams weighing tons flown around the ears”

First report from August 4, 2022:

Berlin – Explosions at a police detonation site have triggered a large-scale operation by the fire brigade in Berlin’s Grunewald. A spokesman for the Berlin fire brigade told the AFP news agency that there was a fire in an area of 15,000 square meters on the blasting site and in the adjacent forest. Because of ongoing explosions at the blast site, the fire brigade have not yet been able to start extinguishing.

Berlin: ordnance and fireworks stored – “The situation is unclear”

Ordnance and fireworks were stored at the police detonation site, the spokesman said. “The situation is confusing. The forest continues to burn uncontrollably.” He called on the population to avoid the area as far as possible. According to the picture , the first alarm was at 3:30 a.m. The first emergency services reported “steel beams weighing tons that blew up in their faces there”. A fire department spokesman told ntv.

120 firefighters are on site and a police helicopter is being used to assess the situation, the spokesman said. The fire brigade is now preparing a so-called locking position. The aim is to fight the fire at a distance of 1000 meters from the blast site. The firefighters cannot get any closer so as not to endanger themselves from further explosions. The numerous explosions can be clearly heard on a Twitter video.

Explosions in Berlin: Office warns the population of forest fires and fire gases

The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance declared early in the morning that “the forest and a storage facility for ammunition found by the Berlin police” were on fire. “Explosion noises and nuisance from fire gas are to be expected.” According to the police, it is not yet clear how the fire started. The extreme heat and drought could spread the fire further and also cause problems for the emergency services. (md with afp)

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