Bonn · A fire broke out in an equestrian yard in Bonn-Friesdorf on Wednesday morning, about 700 bales of straw and parts of a warehouse were in flames. One day later, the fire department and THW were still working there.
The acrid smell of burning is still in the air at Annaberg, the loud, acoustic reversing alarms of the wheel loaders can be heard again and again, and snatches of radio messages from the emergency forces can be heard again and again. A few horses standing in a neighbouring meadow are not distracted by this: they inspect the large red emergency vehicle of the Rheindorf firefighting unit very closely.
Of the nearby, about 1,000 square metres large, straw bale warehouse hardly anything is left. Smoke is still rising from the straw on Thursday afternoon. Firefighters and forces of the Technical Relief Organization are in the process of removing the last elements of the warehouse of the Annaberger Hof. Other firefighters are fighting against the embers under breathing protection and with fire hoses. As reported, on Wednesday morning around 7.40 o'clock the Bonn fire-brigade was called to a large fire on the Annaberger yard. There the storage hall mentioned stood in flames. Why the fire started is still unclear.
Tenant is glad that no one was hurt
The tenant of the Annaberger Hof, Jan Büsch, had left the barn around 7:15 a.m., when everything was still in order, he told the GA. He had received a call a little later, but he did not understand it because the content sounded so dramatic. He returned around 7:30 a.m., by which time the warehouse was already on fire. During his absence, his employees had already rescued 20 mares and their foals. Büsch then lent a hand himself and tried to save what could be saved. From his point of view, he was lucky that people and animals remained unharmed. He is particularly pleased about the willingness to help that he is currently experiencing. His straw winter storage was ruined, but he could help himself for the time being as he still had two weeks' worth of remaining stocks. A total of 120 horses live on the farm, which is also a horse boarding house.
The Bonn fire brigade had triggered a large-scale alarm on Wednesday morning and ordered emergency forces from all parts of the city to the scene. These illuminated forces of the technical relief organisation (THW) in the night to Thursday, so that the extinguishing work could continue. "During the night, the burning straw was continuously driven out of the remains of the collapsed barn and then extinguished in a paddock," fire department spokesman Frank Frenser told the GA. A total of eight clearing vehicles of the owner, the municipal waste management company Bonnorange, the Bonn Fire Department and the THW local associations Siegburg, Cologne East, Bergisch Gladbach and Nörvenich were used for this. THW forces also covered the roof of a neighbouring building to search for possible ember nests there. On Thursday morning, however, the command was able to rule out the possibility of the fire spreading to parts of the stable complex that was not affected.
Nevertheless, there was a problem for the emergency services: "Part of the building is no longer load-bearing," said Eric Lambertz, head of operations for the fire department. The roof, under which straw bales were still lying, was in danger of collapsing. At daybreak on Thursday, the Bonn Fire Department's rescue unit was therefore called to the scene with a rescue vehicle and crane to remove the roof, together with the THW. With rope winches the burning hall was turned down to the front side, in order to get to the burning straw, explained Axel Mueller Storp, employment leader of the Bonn THW. They succeeded, and remaining parts of the hall were removed in the course of the day.
According to operation leader Lambertz the fire brigade had to use approximately three kilometres hose, in order to have a secured water supply. The nearest usable hydrants were several hundred metres away. It was also important to prevent smoke from entering the university hospital during the day, because otherwise the air conditioning systems would have had to be shut down. A total of around 230 firefighters from the professional fire department, volunteer fire department, THW and St. John's Ambulance have been deployed so far. In the meantime also fire-brigade forces from Wachtberg and Meckenheim were alerted but not needed in the end.
Although the firefighting work was progressing well on Thursday, head of operations Lambertz was unable to give an expected end time of the operation. "An end is in sight, but we don't know exactly when. We want to have the fire completely out first," Lambertz said. (Original text: Maximilian Mühlens and Axel Vogel / Translation: Mareike Graepel)