04.08.2022, Berlin: Rauch steigt bei einem Brand im Grunewald auf. Wegen eines Brandes im Grunewald wurde die Avus und der angrenzende S-Bahn-Verkehr gesperrt. Im Berliner Grunewald ist nach einer unbeabsichtigten Explosion auf dem dortigen Sprengplatz am Donnerstagmorgen ein Feuer ausgebrochen und hat den angrenzenden Wald in Brand gesetzt. Foto: Kay Nietfeld/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

One month after the fire at the blasting site in Grunewald, investigators from the State Criminal Police Office, the Federal Criminal Police Office, the Federal Office for Materials Research and Testing and external experts are beginning this week to investigate the cause of the fire. Berlin’s Interior Senator Iris Spranger said on Monday in the Interior Committee of the House of Representatives.

So far, the Berlin police have no indication of arson. A security guard noticed the fire during the night and alerted the fire brigade, said Police Vice President Marco Langner.

According to the first hearings of witnesses, there are no indications of third-party negligence. “We can rule that out with a very high degree of probability,” said Langner. “We have not yet found the specific cause of the fire.” Interior Senator Spranger defended that the investigators can only now go to the blasting site. “Safety first,” she said. The first priority was to secure the detonation site and salvage ammunition.

Spranger sees no possibility of closing the detonation site and disposing of ammunition, especially from the Second World War, in Brandenburg. “I think the blast site should stay in the right place,” Spranger said. The place is far away from residential areas, and it is also a mixed forest. It is better suited than the pine forest that prevails in Brandenburg and burns easily. It is not possible to find a blasting site in Brandenburg that meets the conditions of the Grunewald plant.

Nevertheless, Brandenburg helped when the detonation site could not be used because of the fire, said Spranger. On individual days, up to 140 kilograms of ammunition were temporarily stored in Brandenburg. In total, up to 52 tons of ammunition that is found or confiscated in Berlin is brought to Grunewald every year.

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This includes not only World War II bombs, but also weapons seized from criminal offenses such as hand grenades, home-made bombs or dangerous objects. Letters with unknown powders are also examined at the blasting site. Spranger is now looking for a solution so that at least no more pyrotechnics that have been confiscated are stored at the blasting site, but rather to dispose of them more quickly.

She is in talks with the judiciary to regulate the handling of confiscated products differently. “We need a different way of dealing with the pyrotechnics on the blasting site,” said Spranger. “We are in talks with Saxony in order to be able to part with pyrotechnics much more quickly.”

Brandenburg also already has a cooperation with Saxony. The Free State disposes of pyrotechnics, Brandenburg disposes of larger ammunition for Saxony. The pyrotechnics on the detonation site had been ignited at the beginning of the fire in Grunewald, and the fireworks had further accelerated the forest fire.

On August 4, the fire broke out at the blast site. There were numerous explosions. The extinguishing work lasted several days. Because of the good experience with extinguishing robots, with which other federal states have helped Berlin, Spranger now wants to buy such a device.