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Germany: Fire breaks out at Berlin metal factory

May 4, 2024

More than 200 firefighters were on site, trying to control the flames. Residents near the factory were advised to keep their windows and doors closed to protect themselves from fumes.

Smoke rises behind emergency vehicles of the Berlin fire brigade during a fire in Berlin-Lichterfelde on May 3, 2024.
Residents nearby were advised to shut their windows and doors to protect them against the smokeImage: Christoph Soeder/dpa/picture alliance

German firefighters battled on Friday to control a fire that broke out at a metal technology factory in the southwest of the capital, Berlin.

Dark smoke rose from the complex, located in Berlin's Lichterfelde neighborhood.

Firefighters said sulphuric acid and copper cyanide were stored at the plant, and when the chemicals ignited, hydrogen cyanide could have formed.

The fire brigade issued a hazard warning but later said hazardous substances were only detected in the air in the immediate vicinity of the Diehl Metall plant, not in the smoke that drifted toward the city center.

Black smoke rising from the plant on fire in Berlin's Lichterfelde neighborhood
The fire engulfed the entire factoryImage: Christoph Soeder/dpa/picture alliance

As a precaution, nearby schools sent students and staff home, and several shops in the area were closed.

Building completely engulfed in flames

Over 200 firefighters were deployed to battle the blaze that started in a technical room on the first floor of the multi-story building on Friday morning.

Firefighters tackle a massive fire in Berlin
The fire brigade was on still on site late on Friday eveningImage: Michael Bahlo/dpa/picture alliance

"The building is now completely burned through on four floors. Part of the building has already collapsed," Adrian Wenzel, the Berlin fire department spokesman told Bild

According to the spokesman, there were no injuries. All people were able to evacuate the area.

It wasn't clear what caused the fire. 

Diehl Metall is a subsidiary of the German Diehl Group, which manufactures the IRIS-T missiles, which are also used in Ukraine. 

A company spokesperson, however, said no armaments had been manufactured at the Berlin facility.

lo,rmt/msh (with dpa)