A fire in the archives of the city hall in Krakow broke out on Saturday evening. Firefighters fought the fire all night long, and on Sunday afternoon they informed that the operation would most likely continue for several more hours. – Documents are tightly packed, close together, stacked high. The fire is smoldering all the time and the smoke is high – reported the junior brigadier Łukasz Szewczyk.
The fire broke out on Saturday after 8pm. The archives of the Krakow City Hall caught fire. The fire extinguishing action was reported in an interview with TVN24 reporter, the junior brigadier Łukasz Szewczyk, the commander of the rescue and fire fighting unit working on the site.
– At about 8 p.m. we received a notification from the so-called fire monitoring, i.e. from the system that is installed in this facility. Hosts from the nearest rescue and firefighting unit immediately went to the scene. Considering the nature of the incident and the areas of the halls affected by the fire, more units from almost all nearby units were ordered, he said Nobody was hurt in the fire.
The Krakow Archives – he explained – “is a whole complex of buildings, which consists of three halls with archives and one administrative building”. – There is a fire and smoke in two halls. Documents are tightly packed, close together, stacked high. The fire is smoldering all the time and the smoke is high – informed the young brig. Szewczyk.
He reported that “water, foam, extinguishing powder, as well as a special Cobra system, that is water under high pressure, were used to extinguish the fire”.
As explained by Dariusz Nowak, the press spokesman of the Krakow city office, it is difficult to say what was destroyed at the moment. – This archive includes documents from all municipal units in Krakow, both current and past. The important thing is that there were no documents from the Registry Office, because they are extremely important, especially for people, said the official.
Over 80 firefighters
At the peak of the action, 24 teams, i.e. over 80 firefighters, fought the fire.
– Due to unfavorable conditions – a very large amount of flammable material, strong smoke, the inability to use heavy equipment that would help us – we have to pour, extinguish and use the physical work of our hands to take this material outside – said Brig. Szewczyk around 7 am on Sunday.
He added that “at this stage it is very difficult to talk about the causes of the fire”.
As reported by TVN24 reporter Marcin Kwaśny, the action is additionally hindered by the low temperature (thermometers show -8 degrees, and the perceived temperature is even lower). Firefighters have to leave the building from time to time and change equipment and air cylinders. It is not known how long it may take to extinguish the fire that is smoldering in the building. On the other hand, firefighters assure that there is no risk of the fire spreading outside the archive.
“We have to put out the folder after the briefcase”
On Sunday afternoon, Sebastian Woźniak, spokesman of the guard from Małopolska, announced that the operation could take several more hours. – We are still operating. We divided the action area into three combat stages. The first one covers the ground floor of the two-story hall on the road side, where activities are carried out and where there is a fire. The second and third sections are in the second hall, on the ground floor and on the first floor – because two floors are affected by the fire there – informed Woźniak. As he explained, carrying out firefighting operations is very difficult because firefighters have to move around in confined spaces.
In the information posted on its website, the city of Krakow reminded that the archive contains 20 thousand. meters of running documents. The binders, files and documents gathered there smolder and glow. The racks approximately three meters high have to be moved by firefighters by hand. They are normally electronically powered, but in fire conditions we have to slide them on the rails; put out the folder after the briefcase – said Woźniak. – Therefore, we estimate that these activities may take even several or several hours – he added.
Main photo source: PAP / Łukasz Gągulski