Fire in the HB Zurich: buildings that are vulnerable to collapse

The forces are on the ground until the morning to fight the fire. The site is closed over a large area. Twice it came to explosions. There are no reports of possible victims. A policeman suffered from a hearing trauma.

Boas Ruh / Daniel Fritzsche / Sonja Blaschke

Photo's of the big fire at Zurich's main train station

That happened:

During the night on Saturday at about 2:15 pm fire broke out in a corner building in the immediate vicinity of Zurich's main train station. The fire spread to surrounding houses. There were loud explosive sounds twice.

What we know:

  • In the night on Saturday, next to the temporary globe, right next to the main station in Zurich, a building that was renovated and apparently empty went up in flames. The fire spread to surrounding buildings. There were two explosions.
  • Police and fire brigade in large-scale operation: at 4 o'clock the fire in the attic was largely under control.
  • Many spectators observe the work that goes on in the morning. The area has been deposited because of the danger of collapse of far-reaching buildings.
  • The city police currently can not predict how long the closure and detour will take. The work can take days.

Live Coverage:

14:39 hours

Cleaning up after the fire is difficult. Individual fires continue to flash. That is why the fire department is still on location with a large team. Two construction companies are currently working on the dismantling of scaffolding on the affected buildings, which were used for the renovation. Architectural engineers check the houses; these are considered as a risk of collapse. A crane in the courtyard of the neighborhood, which was extremely hot due to the fire, also checks the experts. The tests can still take hours according to "Protection and rescue".

13:03 clock – «The behavior of the gazers was unacceptable»

The Zurich City Member of Parliament Përparim Avdili (fdp.) Was the fire night as an eyewitness. He accompanied the city police on a patrol. "I stood on a quiet night," he says. "What happened then was incredible and I will never forget it." After some routine checks came the alarm of the operation center: "Notice the main station!" Avdili and the policemen ran to the building at Bahnhofplatz 1 with blue lights.

Përparim Avdili, FDP council. (Photo: zvg)

Përparim Avdili, FDP council. (Photo: zvg)

"The flames were already very high and it was very hot," he says. "I had a bad feeling." Hundreds of spectators stood in the way of the police. "Many did not know the danger at all." They made film recordings and selfies for the burning building. The first few minutes, the civil servants had only been busy throwing away the gazers. They were repeatedly bothered. "I was shocked by this unacceptable behavior," says Avdili.

When the police pulled a tape, there was a loud bang in the burning building. A gas bottle had exploded. "I felt the shock wave and felt my eardrum burst." Avdili withdrew. Shortly after the second explosion, a policeman, accompanied by the municipality, received a hearing trauma. "I also had a long whistle in my ear, luckily it was over."

More police officers and fire brigades arrived in the course of time. "At first I thought they were powerless against this enormous fire." Over time, however, the forces brought the flames under control. The organization was perfect. "I have a lot of respect for what these men and women did that evening," Avdili says. "They are very common with a lot of heart and strong nerves."

12:07 clock

The fire at the Zurich main station caused enormous material damage. A row of houses from the time of establishment was almost completely destroyed. In the fourteenth complex renovation works took place, which were preceded by long and intensive negotiations with the preservation of monuments.

10:19 am – Exclusive drone recordings from the Stadtpolizei Zürich

Start video

Drone recordings of the big fire at the main station of Zurich

10:09 – Delays in public transport

Due to the large fire on the Bahnhofplatz, traffic will be forwarded until further notice. In the center of the city should be expected in the tram and bus operation with delays, reports the city police. The blocking of various important road sections takes place for safety reasons. The building complex was badly damaged.

The city police can not predict exactly how long the barriers and detours are left. However, it is to be expected that important street sections, such as the station bridge and the underpass of the Landesmuseum to the Rudolf Brun bridge, will be back in the usual context at the earliest in the late evening, but possibly only in the next few days. Firstly, the structural engineers have to assess the condition of the buildings.

The Central – Bahnhofbrücke – Bahnhofplatz / Bahnhofstrasse and Bahnhofquai – Bahnhofplatz – Bahnhofstrasse tram lines are not passable. The tram network is currently divided organisationally around the main station in two parts.
To make matters worse, this weekend in Bleicherweg the tracks are being replaced. There is currently no tram connection between Hauptbahnhof and Paradeplatz. Different connections can be expected with longer travel times.

08:35 am – buildings are collapsing

"Protection and salvation" has its say. According to a statement, the task force speaks of "immense material damage" caused by the fire. Only thanks to the rapid intervention of the fire brigade could be prevented even worse. About wounded is still unknown.

The rescue units comment on the two violent explosions that have occurred: at least one piece of debris was thrown about 200 meters through the air. In the course of the first clarifications, police officers found a metal part of a gas bottle weighing about two kilos on Bahnhofstrasse. Fortunately, no one was injured. According to recent findings of the police and prosecutors, there are no concrete indications of a crime. The affected building has been under construction for several months.

Soon after the outbreak of the fire, many passersby and night owls in the city were traveling, tens of times the fire brigade 118 and the emergency call 117 of the city police were called within a short time. The flames were visible from afar, so that emergency calls were received outside the city center. The city police closed the area on a large scale. The extinguishing of the embers continues until the hour. The extinguishing work is complicated and difficult because large parts of the building collapse.

During the explosion, a policeman in the vicinity of the building suffered a hearing trauma that was medically illuminated during the day. The station square and the surrounding street parts had to be completely closed.

The exact cause of the big fire is still unclear. In this connection, the Zurich City Police are looking for persons who made suspicious remarks before the fire broke out at the station quay at about 2:15. You are kindly requested to call the city police on 0444 117 117.

7:41 am – Bus and tram traffic stopped

The house was largely damaged by the fire. There is a risk of collapse, a spokesman said. The police have deposited the area on a large scale. A store in an adjacent building was provisionally closed. In addition, tram and bus traffic was stopped on the station square.

The line between Bahnhofplatz, Bahnhofquai and Central is as yet blocked for the tram and bus connections of lines 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 31, 46 in both directions. as the transport companies in Zurich report.

06:55 clock

According to a speaker from Zurich city police at the request of the NZZ, the fire of a commercial building at the Zurich train station is "under control". Details about the course of the large-scale use of police and fire and about possible causes will be announced during the day.

4:46 clock

(SDA) The rescue workers were warned at 2:16 am, a spokesman for Schutz & Rettung Zurich told the news agency Keystone-SDA. In a short time the police received more than 50 emergency calls, one from the neighboring community of Kilchberg.

The flames explode from an equipped commercial building next to Zurich's main train station. The troops close the area to an important transport hub in the city center. (Photo: Boas Ruh / NZZ)

The flames explode from an equipped commercial building next to Zurich's main train station. The troops close the area to an important transport hub in the city center. (Photo: Boas Ruh / NZZ)

When the fire brigade arrived at the scene, the attic of the house on the station square was completely on fire. The fire brigade has brought the fire under control at four o'clock. However, the extinguishing work was continued in the morning. According to the spokesman, the rescuers have no knowledge of injuries. The cause of the fire is unclear.


The fire brigade rolls out extra hoses to get the fire under control. According to a tweet from Schutz und Rettung Zürich the professional and military fire brigades work together.

The fire department in large-scale operation. (Photo: Boas Ruh / NZZ)

The fire department in large-scale operation. (Photo: Boas Ruh / NZZ)

3:54 clock

Just after one and a half hours after the first explosions, the Zurich fire brigade seems to have brought the big fire under control so far that the flames are barely visible. This is a thick cloud of smoke above the building. Several fire hydrants from the fire brigade can be seen.

Around 3.50 hours the fire brigade could bring the fire under control. The flames are much less visible. (Photo: Boas Ruh / NZZ)

Around 3.50 hours the fire brigade could bring the fire under control. The flames are much less visible. (Photo: Boas Ruh / NZZ)

The station bridge between Central and Central Station is fully parked with police vehicles and fire engines. Around the place of the fire, many spectators gathered to observe the operation.

3:46 am – building under renovation and probably empty

The building was rebuilt and was therefore apparently empty, as various field troops confirmed. According to the local NZZ editor, light beams from flashlights can be seen in an adjacent building. The forces would try to prevent the flames from spreading to adjacent buildings.

03:24 clock

The city police Zurich has so far been unable to provide information about the incident. A representative of the operational management informed the NZZ by telephone on request and referred to the current operation.

3:18 clock – no reports of victims

The police and the fire brigade are on site with various auxiliary vehicles. In addition, ambulances and emergency doctors arrived. So far there are no reports of victims.

The forces on the ground. The area around the burning building is largely closed. (Image: Boas Ruh)

The forces on the ground. The area around the burning building is largely closed. (Image: Boas Ruh)

03:10 clock – more explosion

At 3:10 a NZZ editor reports on the site of a new bang. The cause of the explosion is still unclear.

A video posted by a Twitter user shows how high the flames from the building are banging and a short explosion can also be heard. Many spectators gathered on the boulevard of the Limmat River.

03:05 clock – field locked

Forces have deposited the area around the burning building, which is in scaffolding. The fire service is trying to extinguish the fire. It is currently unclear whether people are or have remained in the building.

02:47 clock

The photo of another local NZZ editor shows that the office building at Station Square 2 has a scaffolding. The flames blow high from the attic, the smoke moves through the area around the Zurich main station.

Near the Zurich train station, a violent explosion occurred on Saturday night. The photo was taken at 2:45 am. (Photo: Boas Ruh / NZZ)

Near the Zurich train station, a violent explosion occurred on Saturday night. The photo was taken at 2:45 am. (Photo: Boas Ruh / NZZ)


During the night on Saturday it was in the immediate vicinity of Zurich's main station at 2.15 pm a violent explosion. The flames hit so high that the big fire is also clearly visible from the other side of the station around 2.30 am. An NZZ editor on the site reported two loud blasting sounds and a huge jet of flames. She suspects that the fire broke out at a construction site in front of the station.

The flames are visible from afar. (Image: Marie-José Kolly / NZZ)

The flames are visible from afar. (Image: Marie-José Kolly / NZZ)

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