Dramatic rescue operation in Maxstraße Seven injured in hotel fire in Bonn’s Old Town
Bonn · Firefighters were called to Bonn's Old Town early Friday morning where a hotel roof was in flames. Several people climbed out of their windows to save themselves. Seven people were injured by the fire.
Firefighters were called out early Friday morning for a major fire in Bonn's Old Town where the roof truss of a hotel on Maxstraße had gone up in flames. Six people suffered injuries - five of them minor, one moderate. A firefighter also suffered minor injuries. The injured were taken to hospitals. The fire was reported around 3:25 am.
"When we arrived on site, the entire roof truss was already on fire," says Olaf Henk, head of operations of the Bonn police. Several people tried to escape from the building where the restaurant "Weihers Eck" is located on the ground floor. Persons were trapped on the roof, surrounded by flames, and one man escaped from the building via signage on the exterior of the corner building. Other people escaped from their rooms to an adjacent canopy.
"The first minutes of the mission were quite dramatic," summarized Martin Haselbauer, press spokesman for the Bonn Fire Department. How many people were in the building was initially unclear. "Almost at the last second we were able to rescue a total of five people from the burning roof," Haselbauer continued. They used turntable ladders and portable ladders.
Haselbauer: “That is how we prevented them from having to jump. Rescuing people is always particularly dramatic for us as firefighters and requires all our efforts". Why the people escaped to the rooftop and not through the staircase was not known at the time.
Fire alarm system in Bonn city administration building triggered
"We were able to bring the fire under control within half an hour and prevent the fire from spreading to neighboring buildings. The fire did not spread to other floors of the building either," said Haselbauer. The attic floor was completely destroyed by the flames.
The fire also affected the city administration building. As Haselbauer reports, the smoke from the flames triggered the automatic fire alarm system there but officials were able to quickly determine that it was due to smoke from the hotel fire.
Police cordoned off the area around the hotel so firefighters could do their work. The Bonn police requested reinforcements from surrounding police departments.
Resident grateful for police efforts
Many residents living in the area were startled by the fire during the night. "The police rang our doorbell and evacuated the entire building within ten minutes," reports Jelena Zurkovic, who lives in the immediate vicinity of the hotel. "I stood on the street until about 5 am before I could return to my apartment," Zurkovic continued. She is grateful for the action of the fire and emergency personnel: "The situation was very dangerous. Our building also became very warm from the fire and was full of smoke."
Around 85 firefighters were called out to fight the hotel blaze, the cause of which is not yet known. Michael Beyer of the Bonn police press office said they had secured the area for investigation. The hotel is uninhabitable at this time.
Orig. text: Laszlo Scheuch, Ulrich Felsmann