Monday, 2 December 2013

WordPress Daily Prompt: Hear no Evil

Tell us about a conversation you couldn’t help but overhear and wish you hadn’t. 

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SECRET.

Fire in the old town of Solothurn

On 29th March 2011 I was on my way home after a visit in town to the dentist. I could smell the smoke and had to go through the main street. There is an advantage when you always have a camera with you, so I fitted in amongst the others, all busy with their mobile phones taking photos of the event.

“Looks like the fire started in the roof” said one man who had probably just left his desk in a nearby office, clicking away with his phone camera.

“Shame” said an elderly lady “those buildings are under monument protection.”

“That will cost a pretty penny to renovate” said another.

“Please get back, you are all in the way. We are putting out a fire. It could get dangerous” said a fireman who was organising a barrier.

I continued to click away with the others, hoping that the local newspaper might show a financial interest in my action photos. I only had my “normal” camera with me but saw out of the corner of my eye a very professional looking Canon camera with a long lens, so decided my photos would probably be classed as an amateur attempt.

I decided my work was done and made my way to the train stop.

“Where do you think you are going” said a fireman.”

.“To the train stop”

“Not this way Madam, this street is closed. We cannot have people walking around disturbing our work. This is not a public spectacle.”

I suppose he was right, it is not every day that we have a famous fire in the market town of Solothurn.

“You can take the back street.”

I did a detour of a few minutes along the cobbled streets. Being accident prone, I was not so keen on this as those cobbles can be a dangerous occupation walking over. I reached my station and looked back to the town to see a column of smoke still appearing over the centre of the town.

I arrived home.

“Guess what” I said to Mr. Swiss “there was a fire in town.”

“Were you hurt, did anything happen?” He always seems to think the worst.

“No, nothing happened, but I took a few photos.”

“That is in the main street, looks like the fire started in the roof” was his comment.

That evening it was even in the news on the television. Switzerland is a small country and sometimes they are glad to have something Swiss to report. The local newspapers and internet were full of photos, so I realised I had again been cheated out of a prize winning photo.

The reconstruction work on the buildings damaged is now completed, everything being restored to how it used to be.

I had a look in Internet to see if there was still some news around. It was interesting what I found and here is my translation from the original German into English.

“At the large fire in the old town, damage amounting to 5,31 milion swiss francs arose. Five attics were partially damaged. According to research, a technical defect in the electrical installation was the cause of the fire. There were no injuries to living persons.”

It seems that five ajoining buildings were affected. I also read somewhere that when the fire broke out it lasted thirty minutes until the fire brigade was called out.

“The alarm was called out by a person in a side street. This person was alone in the street and had no reason to know whether someone else had called the fire brigade.”

Apparently there were so many people taking photos and filming the event that no-one thought about calling the fire brigade. You see how cool and relaxed we Swiss are, even in the face of danger.

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  1. At least no-one was hurt or injured, that's the main thing. Your post put me in mind of something I heard at the weekend. You have probably heard of the tragic police-helicopter crash in Glasgow? A sign of the changing times was the request by police for anyone for had taken still or video footage with their i-phones to come forward and provide them, as it may help with trying to establish the cause of the crash.

    1. I heard about that terrible crash on our news. In Switzerland they were all so busy filming everything that they forgot to tell the firemen to come and put the fire out.

  2. What a terrible fire. Thankfully, the buildings were restored. I think your photo is great!