Hamburg bunker blast and fire injure 38

UPDATE: A fire and explosion in a World War II-era bunker injured at least 38 people in Hamburg on Tuesday morning.

Hamburg bunker blast and fire injure 38
Photo: DPA

Several fire-fighters who rushed to the pre-dawn blaze were injured by the force of a blast strong enough to hurl debris and bicycles through the air.

As the fire continued to blaze, fire-fighters said they would try to douse the flames with foam to prevent the ignition of about 100 tons of essential oils stored in a carpentry workshop inside the bunker.

“For now we won't send anyone else into the building because the situation is unclear,” a fire brigade spokesman told DPA.

“We plan to flood the bunker with foam to extinguish the fire.”

Nine fire-fighters were among 11 people who suffered injuries, while another fire-fighter collapsed.

Meanwhile, 15 people were treated for smoke inhalation.

Officials said they were investigating the cause of the blaze in the concrete bunker in a residential area of the harbour side district of Rothenburgsort.

Hundreds of Nazi-era bunkers remain scattered across German cities, where they were often the only buildings to survive Allied bombing raids that destroyed surrounding neighbourhoods.

With their thick concrete walls, many bunkers proved too difficult to safely demolish after the war and city authorities opted to keep many of them to house businesses or as venues for cultural activities.

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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.