A fire started in the building Drífandi in the Westman Islands, off south Iceland, last night, which facilitates Hotel Eyjar and bookstore Eymundsson. The fire was extinguished, twice, and no one was harmed but the house is severely damaged.
Archive photo by Geir Ólafsson.
“Extinguishing the fire was successful but trying,” local fire marshal Ragnar Þór Baldvinsson told ruv.is after their work was completed between 9 and 10 am this morning. The fire picked up again after being extinguished the first time.
“We first thought that there were people in the building but later it turned out that it wasn’t the case. Then we could focus on extinguishing the fire which was a little difficult because of the heat and smoke,” Ragnar said.
“Afterwards we were headed for the fire department for refreshment while others stood guard. The [second] fire seemed to have started between lofts. The lofts in the old building had many-layered coatings so we didn’t see the fire until we returned. It took about one hour to extinguish the second fire,” he explained.
Firefighters had to tear down many walls will fighting the flames because it was hard to get to the fire. “I would say the danger is over regarding any risk of accidents or the fire reigniting but the building is severely damaged. Extensive work lies ahead regardless of what will be done,” Ragnar stated.
A number of arsons have been reported in the Westman Islands in the past years, the cases of which have yet to be solved. However, the fire last night does not appear to be a result of arson.
“We couldn’t see any indications of that. We have sometimes encountered fires where it was absolutely clear that they had been started deliberately but this time we saw no such evidence,” Ragnar concluded.
Click here to read more about the Westman Islands’ arsons.