The impact of a fire can affect many – families, businesses and the community. In 2016, pharmacist Klaus Dewies faced his worst nightmare when a fire broke out in the building that hosted his business and his home. His family had maintained the historic building in the old German town of Haltern am See since 1919. The pharmacy, where Dewies worked, was located on the ground floor and the top floor was converted into a bright apartment for his family. To add to the tragedy, the building itself is protected and considered to be one of the most beautiful facades in Haltern.
Luckily, visitors at the neighbouring ice-cream parlour noticed black smoke, so everyone in the building was evacuated quickly and safely. They assembled outside and watched helplessly as the local fire fighters tried to control the fire – and as flames, smoke and around 6,000 litres of water almost destroyed the building. The water alone used to quench the fire could fill six standard car trailers! By the time the fire was extinguished, the roof and interior were completely destroyed.
The investigation carried out by the fire department in the aftermath showed that the trigger occurred during work on the historical facade when a painter tried to remove acrylic resin paint using a Bunsen burner. The existing roof insulation ignited as a result. For Dewies, fire safety became a top priority when considering the resulting renovation of the historic roof and creation of a new roof structure.
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Frankfurt am Main