Over 100 firefighters called to extinguish blaze in freezing cold

Three people were rescued from a dramatic house fire in Upper Austria's Bad Schallerbach on Saturday evening. The fire broke out in a ground-floor apartment and spread all the way up to the roof. Police claim that the cause of the fire was the burning cigarette of a 48-year old tenant, who is still in hospital for smoke inhalation.

Over 100 firefighters called to extinguish blaze in freezing cold
Photo: FF Bad Schallerbach, Markus Hanetseder
According to reports from the ORF, the fire began at 5:30PM on Saturday in the 100-year old apartment block. The outside temperature was measured at -10 degrees Celsius, which posed all the more hazardous for firefighters in their labor to put the fire out, during which the building's stairwell and roof also caved in. 
Officer-in-charge, Bruno Roithmeier claimed that “initially 20 men were sent in with heavy respiratory protection”, but due to the already compromised structure of the house, they had to exit again and could only continue their rescue operations from the exterior. 
Efforts to extinguish the fire against the extreme cold temperatures lasted until early Sunday morning. In the end, fire brigades from Bad Schallerbach, Wallern an der Trattnach, St. Marienkirchen an der Polsenz, Tegernbach, Schlüßlberg and Wels im Löscheinsatz were called in to help. The house was already in poor condition according to Mayor Gerhard Baumgartner (ÖVP) and should have no longer been inhabited. 

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