• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Fire fears ban visitors from Stuttgart TV tower

The Local · 28 Mar 2013, 07:58

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.

Story continues below…

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
Pegida take to Dresden streets - to march against Pegida
Pegida demonstrators. Photo: DPA

Followers of the xenophobic Pegida movement marched in two factions on Monday evening in the capital of Saxony, brandishing fierce accusations of treason against one another.

Analysis
Is it fair to call the AfD far right?
AfD leaders, from left, Georg Pazderski, Frauke Petry and Jörg Meuthen. Photo: DPA.

The AfD has been dubbed "far-right" over the past year as it has taken on a tougher stance against immigration and made gains in state elections. But at what point does one call a group far-right?

Dresden police guard Islamic buildings after mosque attack
The Dresden mosque that was hit by a homemade bomb attack on Monday. Photo: DPA.

All Islamic buildings in the capital of Saxony have been put under police protection on Tuesday after explosive devices were detonated at a mosque and a congress centre in the city.

Germany blocks WhatsApp data transfers to Facebook
Photo: DPA

German data protection authorities on Tuesday said they had blocked Facebook from collecting subscriber data from its subsidiary WhatsApp, citing privacy concerns.

Stuttgart fest pulls in twice as many boozers as Oktoberfest
Is this Oktoberfest or is this Stuttgart's Cannstatter Volksfest? Can you tell the difference? Well, it's Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

Apparently Munich is no longer the top place to wear lederhosen and down beer one litre at a time.

The Local List
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Photo: DPA

These films are so good, not even The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari made the list.

Young man destroys 17 cars after visiting Oktoberfest

Early on Monday morning a drunk 29-year-old trashed 17 cars after staggering out of Oktoberfest into the Munich streets. It was one of several eye-popping crimes from "Wiesn" over the past few days.

VW emissions scandal
Audi tech chief leaves after reports link him to 'dieselgate'
Audi's head of technical development Stefan Knirsch stepped down on Monday. Photo: DPA.

Audi's head of technical development stepped down "with immediate effect" on Monday, the luxury carmaker announced, after German media accused him of involvement in parent company Volkswagen's "dieselgate" scandal.

Deutsche Bank shares hit lowest level in quarter century
Photo: DPA.

Shares in Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest lender, sank to a historic low on Monday after reports at the weekend that Berlin had refused state aid for the embattled lender.

The Local List
The 10 worst German cities for students to find digs
Photo: DPA

It's the start of autumn, which means the start of the university year. But along with the excitement comes the stress of finding housing - and in some glamorous locations this can be a nightmare.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
6,591
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd