BERLIN (AP) – A fire accompanied by explosions at a police ammunition dump in a Berlin forest was contained and large parts of it were extinguished yesterday, but authorities were still waiting to get access to the dump itself.
The fire broke out on Thursday in the Grunewald forest on the western edge of the German capital. The site is far from the nearest homes and no one had to be evacuated, but authorities declared a 1,000-metre exclusion zone and a nearby highway and railway line remained closed yesterday.
Fire service spokesman Thomas Kirstein said that wildfires in the area around the ammunition dump had been largely extinguished by yesterday. Authorities are now hoping to get a close look at the site itself, with help from armoured vehicles and robots, after being unable to do so on Thursday amid concern about continuing sporadic detonations.
It remains unclear what triggered the first explosions at the ammunition dump on Thursday. The site was created in Cold War-era West Berlin in 1950, and 25 metric tonnes or more of fireworks, World War II ammunition and other explosive ordnance was stored there before the fire started.