• Germany's news in English
 

Fire fears ban visitors from Stuttgart TV tower

Published: 28 Mar 2013 07:58 GMT+01:00

"In the event of a fire the television tower would be a life-threatening trap for visitors," said Fritz Kühn, the southwestern German city's mayor.

The decision to close the 217-metre tower to the public took its operator, broadcaster Südwestrundfunk (SWR) by surprise. "That the television tower now has to be closed for security reasons takes us completely unprepared," said Siegfried Dannwolf, manager of SWR Media Services on Wednesday.

But Kühn said there was no other option - and there was unlikely to be any way the tower could be reopened. He said in an emergency up to 250 people would have to leave via a very narrow stairwell in the tower and that it would take too long for them to get out.

SWR spent millions updating the fire prevention systems in the tower just two years ago, said Dannwolf, saying all authorities had been happy with the renovation measures.

"We will not check how we can fulfil the conditions, which are new for us and which we could not have foreseen. We will have to see whether a financially sound use [of the tower] is even possible," he said.

The tower was opened in 1956, the first steel and concrete television tower in the world. It was taken as an example for many other towers around the world including the Space Needle in Seattle, USA.

Stuttgart's tower, complete with a cafe at the top - as well as rooms full of SWR broadcasting equipment - has long been a popular spot for locals and tourists to visit and take in the view.

But Kühn said if he did not close it now and something happened, it would be an unforgivable error. He said similar towers in Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Nuremberg had been closed in recent years.

He said further checks would be made after Easter to see if the situation could be changed.

Frank Knödler, head of fire protection at the tower, said there was a sprinkler system and that the technical equipment rooms could be filled with fire-extinguishing carbon dioxide in the case of a fire. But he admitted much of the tower remained flammable. "We sadly only have one emergency exit, and if this were to be blocked, it would present a significant danger," he said.

Three people died in 2000 when Moscow's television tower caught fire.

DPA/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

08:54 March 28, 2013 by wood artist
Although it may not really be a workable solution, it seems like some sort of strict limit on numbers would be an option. That pretty much closes the cafe, but at least people could take turns...say no more than 10 or 15 at a time, with some time limits. I agree with the risk issue, but some of that other flammable stuff could be removed to make the risk manageable, especially with occupancy limits.

wa
12:06 March 28, 2013 by Zeitgeist Stupido
Just close it off? C¦#39;mon- where¦#39;s the ingenuity here? What about helicopters, ropes, parachutes, wing suits, zip lines for possible fire escape scenarios?
12:32 March 28, 2013 by whiteriver
I also thought about what if they have helicopters ready, but the zip line idea sounds much better. They could implement several cables around the bulb ready to be lowered.
14:18 March 28, 2013 by Stabsfeldwebel
This is so depressing. As an American Soldier, it was one of my favorite places to visit and take friends. I actually bought an annual pass for 2008. I hope a solution is found to keep it open to the public! Stuttgart is one of my favorite cities and the tower would definitely be a place I would visit again.
17:09 March 28, 2013 by Punisherette
A zip line is a bad, bad idea. The fire could damage the cable, it would snap and people would plunge to their deaths!
01:13 March 29, 2013 by wood artist
Maybe just add a really big water slide. It could be inflatable...like the escape chutes on airplanes. That way it wouldn't really mar the view yet still be functional. They could charge more, and promise that the trip down will be really exciting should a fire break out. Mount the chute in a fireproof location so it wouldn't be compromised before everyone is out.

wa
Today's headlines
RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
German beer day: take the tour
Features
Off to Norway at 18 km/hour
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Gallery
The smileys Germans love to text
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
National
Expats face Monday deadline to register to vote for UK election
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
VIDEO: Mario Draghi suffers anti-ECB confetti attack
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
Germanwings co-pilot 'searched suicide info'
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,191
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd