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'Cursed' Christmas Market catches fire

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'Cursed' Christmas Market catches fire
The ferris wheel at Alexa Christmas Market where a man fell to his death last week Photo: DPA
12:27 CET+01:00
A blaze at one of Berlin's biggest Christmas markets has caused locals to wonder if the place is cursed.

The fire on Monday did not cause any injuries, as it took hold at 8 am, before the "Winter Magic" Christmas Market at Alexanderplatz had opened to the public.

But the 30-metre high flames could be seen in the heart of the capital, completely gutting a two-storey lottery both and damaging two other buildings, and come in the wake of spate of unfortunate events - and even tragedies. Firemen eventually got the blaze under control, and the market opened to the public.

On December 8th, a 58-year old man plunged to his death in front of horrified onlookers from the top of the Ferris wheel. A female fellow passenger on the ride had to be taken to hospital after witnessing the 60-metre plunge, and the entire market was closed - temporarily - whilst police investigated.

Two years ago, at the same Christmas Market - which is sited behind the central Alexa shopping centre - some 14 revellers came close to suffering hypothermia after being stuck at the top of the 55-metre high "Booster Max" ride for half an hour, in temperatures of minus 6 degrees.

All were eventually freed unharmed.

In 2011, the Ferris Wheel also hit the headlines after a cable caught fire, threatening to engulf the ride, which came to a complete standstill.

Fortunately, fire services were able to rescue all 25 passengers, but only one at a time in a complex rescue operation.

And in 2009, another 14 passengers had to be rescued after the "Revolution" funfair ride froze 10 metres above the ground. The group were provided with extra layers to keep warm during the rescue operation.

All of which has led Berliner Zeitung to wonder if Winter Magic - one of the more commercial of the capital's several dozen Christmas Markets - "had a curse on it."

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