In the discussion about the location of the detonation site in Grunewald, Berlin’s police chief was open to a transfer. However, the Berlin police still have daily operations where explosive ordnance has to be removed, said Barbara Slowik on Friday on the RBB information radio. Because transporting old World War II bombs is very dangerous, a nearby blasting site is still needed.
With a view of the blasting site in the middle of the popular local recreation area, Slowik said: “Currently, this blasting site is the only permittable facility on Berlin property with 80,000 square meters, far away from residential buildings, which was very useful for the fire brigade yesterday.” Brandenburg also has hardly any resources for one common detonation site in the Berlin area. “So far we haven’t found a way to do that. Now there will be new talks.”
The Berlin FDP warned against hastily closing the explosive site in Grunewald since 1950 and moving it to Brandenburg. “Before hasty discussions about the location of the blasting site, firefighting, a precise analysis of the causes and an inventory of alternatives must be in place,” said interior politician Björn Jotzo on Friday. “There are good reasons against, but also for a blast site in Berlin.”
There are two to three ammunition finds a day in the capital. Short distances make sense for World War II ammunition, and Brandenburg does not currently have the required storage capacity. “The facility in Grunewald is remote and relatively safe – even if yesterday’s security measures apparently partially failed.”
Jotzo demanded that Berlin should only make a decision about giving up the blasting site when the cause of the fire and the effects of alternative locations are known. “It shouldn’t be an emotional decision after an accident, but one based on valid information, a renewed risk analysis and, above all, considering possible alternatives.”
[If you want to have all the latest news live on your mobile phone, we recommend our app, which you can download here for Apple and Android devices.]
On Thursday evening, Berlin’s CDU state chief Kai Wegner called for negotiations with Brandenburg about a joint explosive site for both countries. The right consequences must be drawn from the fire in Grunewald on and around the Berlin police blast site, Wegner said in the rbb “Abendschau”.
“Such a blast site does not belong in a local recreation area,” said the CDU state and parliamentary group leader. There have been many complaints from local residents about it. “Negotiations with Brandenburg have to be conducted now. I hope that we can come to common results,” said Wegner.
“The crucial thing is that you can’t say to Brandenburg: We’ll bring you our bombs. That won’t work,” said the CDU politician. “Berlin also has to bear the costs, you have to share that.” In the future, cooperation will be necessary when it comes to explosives and bomb finds.
Berlin’s governing mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) had already questioned the location on Thursday afternoon: “We have to think about how we will deal with this explosive site in the future and whether the city of Berlin is the right place for it. I will also talk to Dietmar Woidke about how to start a cooperation in the metropolitan area,” said Giffey.
“At the moment I’m very happy that there are no residential buildings in the immediate vicinity and that we don’t have to evacuate anyone,” said the Governing Mayor. The blast site has been in Grunewald for many years. “It’s the only one in this form on Berlin territory.” It’s in the forest, not in a residential area. “In this respect, this is a situation that, as we can assess, is even more relaxed now.”
“We will talk about the location in the Senate,” Berlin’s Senator for the Environment and Climate Protection Bettina Jarasch (Greens) wrote on Twitter on Thursday afternoon.
The Berlin CDU politicians Frank Balzer, Stephan Standfuss and Sandra Khalatbari called for the explosive site to be closed on Thursday. The parliamentary group had already applied for this in 2004. “This highly hazardous explosive location has no place in a recreational area,” they said. “No further dangers should emanate from this location.” Instead of the blasting site in the middle of the forest, the blasting site in Kummersdorf/Gut in Brandenburg should be used in the future.
The police detonation site in Berlin’s Grunewald has been there since 1950. Controlled demolitions are carried out there twice a year for several days, a police spokesman said on Thursday. There have been repeated attempts to look for other locations. As the police announced on Twitter, there are no alternative areas of use in Berlin or they cannot be approved.