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CRIME

Couple killed in home explosion hours before eviction

A middle-aged couple were believed killed late on Sunday night in an apparent gas explosion at their home in Bavaria just hours before they were due to be evicted.

Couple killed in home explosion hours before eviction
Photo: DPA

Two bodies, presumed to be those of the couple who lived in the townhouse in the Winterhausen district near Würzburg, were recovered early Monday. While they were too badly burnt to be identified with certainty, police believe they are the bodies of the 61-year-old husband and 44-year-old wife.

The couple were due to move out of the home Monday after the property was sold. There was “clear evidence of an explosion,” a police spokesman said.

A large gas bottle of a type not normally be needed in such a house was thought to be the cause of blast, investigators said.

The couple living next door were forced to flee for their lives. Only the supporting walls between the two homes remained standing on Monday.

“The street in front of the burning property was strewn with splinters of glass and household items,” an officer said. “It’s now known that the house in which the fire broke out, was supposed to be sold. The couple living in it were supposed to move out of these premises today.”

When the fire brigade arrived about 2 am, both the house and its neighbour were fully ablaze. About 65 fire fighters managed to prevent the fire’s spreading to other homes. It took them about two hours to get the fire under control.

The house was initially regarded as too dangerous to enter. Paramedics and council technicians were also deployed.

Bavaria’s state criminal police are investigating the incident.

DPA/The Local/djw

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OKTOBERFEST

IN PICTURES: First weekend of Munich’s Oktoberfest sees around 700,000 visitors

Around 700,000 people braved the wet and cold weather to attend the first weekend of the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich, according to estimates by festival management.

IN PICTURES: First weekend of Munich's Oktoberfest sees around 700,000 visitors

That is significantly less than the around one million visitors seen in 2019, the last time the festival took place as the 2020 and 2021 editions were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

“We want the weather gods to remember what decent Wies’n [Oktoberfest] weather looks like,” festival head and CSU politician Clemens Baumgärtner said, German news agency DPA reported.

Man and woman in lederhosen at Oktoberfest

A man and a woman in traditional Lederhosen and Dirndl dresses arrive for the opening of the Oktoberfest beer festival at the Theresienwiese in Munich on September 17, 2022.  (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

The festival opened on Saturday and the first guests were already queuing outside the entrances before sunrise to secure their spot at the front of a beer tent when the site was opened. The first tents closed their doors around noon.

Oktoberfest costume parade

Participants of the traditional costume parade of the Oktoberfest beer festival arrive on September 18, 2022.  (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

But the Schottenhamel tent (the oldest at the Oktoberfest) spokesperson, Christian Schottenhamel, said the numbers of people visiting the tents this year were similar to that seen in 2019, DPA said.

Oktoberfest costume parade

Participants dressed as fools perform during the festival’s traditional costume parade on September 18, 2022. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

He reported that the atmosphere was euphoric, with people just happy to be celebrating Oktoberfest again.

Oktoberfest beer tent visitors

The first visitors arrive and reserve places in a beer tent during the opening of the festival on September 17, 2022. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

The festival has attracted a mixed audience so far, including families with children and visitors from abroad, such as from the United States and France.

But the spokesperson for the smaller tents, Otto Lindinger, said the audience was getting younger, noting strong demand for meat-free dishes, although the Oktoberfest chicken was said to still be a hit.

Visitors celebrate at Oktoberfest

Visitors jostle for a Maß in a beer tent at the Oktoberfest on September 17, 2022. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

Over on the south side of the festival area, head of the museum tent Yvonne Heckl described the atmosphere in the traditional ‘Oide Wies’n’, or old Oktoberfest, area as “chilled and calm”.

The festival lasts until October 3rd, as German Unity Day falls on the Monday after the last Oktoberfest Sunday.

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