Big fire in Hafnarfjörður yesterday
A large fire in a building on Hvaleyrarbraut in Hafnarfjörður, Iceland, took place yesterday and firefighters were battling the fire until the fifth hour of the night. Birgir Finnsson, acting fire chief for the Reykjavík Metropolitan Fire Department, told mbl.is last night that the premises are probably completely destroyed.
“We were hoping that we would be able to break the house in half so that we could hold one part of the house, but it didn’t work out. We have a fire in the part we see here closest to us,” said Birgir, who spoke to a local journalist last night.
"The fire protection of the house is not helping us either"
The fire started just after noon today and available firefighters were called out by the capital area fire department. When the clock was getting close to eight o’clock last night, Finnsson said that the situation was still severe and the end of the work was not in sight.
“It’s become such a fire that we’re not sending firefighters in. We were actually protecting part of the building and we do it with large-scale machinery,” Finnsson said yesterday, adding: “The building’s fire protection is not helping us either.”
Is the building going to be completely demolished?
"Well, it looks like it, it's unfortunately not more complicated," he said.
There is every indication that there have been no casualties.
“We believe everyone got out. We had the Red Cross go over it and there is no indication of anything else,” says Finnsson.
However, he says that the occupants of the premises have many foreign nationals and that some of them are believed to be abroad.
“There is nothing we claim with 100% certainty about it, but there is no evidence other than that everyone who was in the house made it out safely,” he says.
The operation took hours to put out all the fire in the building yesterday and ended in the 5th hour this morning. mbl.is/Anton Guðjónsson
The fire had already spread
Finnsson said that it is not known how the fire started but the source of the fire was unfortunately at the center of the building.
“There are many units and compartments in this building. When we receive the notification, the fire had already spread considerably. It was initially complicated to find out where we could get to the fire,” says Finnsson, who says that the operation was extensive.
Initially, much of the action was about rescuing antique cars from the house at the request of the building’s owners and tenants. He says it was carried out with the kind assistance of those who own the cars and with the help of neighbors in the street.
“A considerable amount of valuables were saved, but I will not minimize the fact that there was a considerable amount that could not be saved,” he said.
A bleak sight his morning
This was the sight at Hvaleyrarbraut 22 this morning. The building had some unlicensed apartments, and people were in the house at the time of the fire. However, the fire department it is believed that all people in the building got out.
The building is largely destroyed, but some of the gaps escaped better than others and some were incredibly well-built.
Police are working to secure the scene and later today the scene is expected to be taken over by the police investigation unit before being handed over to insurance companies.
Cause of the fire is still unknown
The source of fire in an industrial building at Hvaleyrarbraut 22 has not yet been confirmed,” says Helgi Gunnarsson, a representative for the Metropolitan Police.
Gunnarsson says the police technical department has just gone to the site, so initial work is about to begin just now.
“I don’t know how far they’ll get,” he says, as the building is in bad shape, so it’s unclear when information about the cause of the fire will be available.