Homeless couple spark deadly blaze to stay warm

To stave off the cold, a homeless couple in Vienna's district of Favoriten made an open-air fire under a bridge late Monday evening. Unfortunately, their efforts resulted in major harm to the man and fatal injuries for the woman.

Homeless couple spark deadly blaze to stay warm
Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia
Police spokesman Thomas Keiblinger stated that, “it's confirmed that directly before the fire, the two victims bought one and a half litres of petrol at a nearby gas station and poured it into an ice-tea bottle.”
While igniting the fire in the dark, it seems that the pair did not notice where exactly they had dispersed the gasoline. Once the flames started, they spread extremely quickly – the surrounding trees, brushwood, and even onto the woman's clothing. According to passersby the man for help ran to the nearest apartment block, where emergency services were alerted almost immediately. Yet, the fire brigade and ambulance arrived too late to save the woman, who died at the scene. The man was rushed to the hospital where his burns are currently being treated. 
According to a report from Kurier, police have been fighting tirelessly this winter against deaths of all manner caused by the immense cold. In the past days alone, dozens around Europe have died at the hands of subzero temperatures, and more are anticipated in the coming days as meteorologists predict the cold to remain.
If you are in Vienna and notice a homeless person sleeping outside, you can contact Caritas to bring them sleeping bags or to transport them to an emergency shelter: 01/4804553 

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Vienna forced to dim street lighting and cancel some Christmas illuminations

Christmas illuminations in Vienna will also be scaled back this year as part of the city's energy saving measures.

Vienna forced to dim street lighting and cancel some Christmas illuminations

Vienna, a city known for its Christmas markets and its New Year concert, is cutting back on public lighting in the face of soaring energy prices.

“There will be no Christmas illuminations this year on the Ring,” the famous boulevard that encircles the centre of the Austrian capital, city spokeswoman Roberta Kraft told AFP.

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And the lights at the Christmas market in the square in front of the city hall would only be switched on at night and not at dusk, as in previous years, “which is to say about an hour later, on average, every day”, she said.

The city authorities said they had not calculated exactly how much they would save, but the move comes after energy prices have skyrocketed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its response to Western sanctions.

Last Friday, the Austrian Energy Agency announced that its electricity price index for September rose by more than 256 percent year-on-year.

READ ALSO: Inflation at 9.2% in July: How to beat rising prices in Austria

Austria, with its population of nine million, is very dependent on tourism and its end-of-year celebrations are a major motor of the economy.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down much international travel, more than four million people visited Vienna’s famous Christmas markets in 2019.

In 2021, around 30 of Vienna’s shopping streets were lit up for seven hours a day, from November 12 until early January.