Aftermath of the high rise fire in Bohumin. Photo from the video by the Czech fire services.
10 Aug 2020

Highrise fire in Czech Republic claimed 11 lives and injured two firefighters


In the early evening on Saturday, firefighters intervened in a tragic fire on the 11th floor of a 13 story high rise apartment building in Bohumín, Czech Republic. The fire quickly engulfed one of the apartments and claimed a total of 11 lives and injured several people.

Eleven people, including three children, have died in the fire in an apartment building in the Czech city of Bohumin. Local police state that the fire was intentionally started, and one person has been arrested.

"I think we have a good idea of who is behind it", said the local police chief Tomas Kuzel to Czech public service television.

The fire started on the eleventh floor of an apartment building. According to local media, people jumped from the windows of the 13-storey building during the fire. Five of the dead died when they jumped from the twelfth floor in a panic.

In addition to the eleven dead, at least ten people were injured.

According to the authorities, the fire spread unusually fast, which would support the suspicion that the fire was intentionally started.

Bohumin is located in the eastern part of the Czech Republic, next to the border with Poland.


Here is the Czech fire services´own story, translated from Czech by CTIC vice president Zdenek Nytra:

"The operations centre received an emergency call on Saturday, August 8, 2020, at 5:48 PM, and during the next three minutes, another 10 or so fire reports were reported for this event. Firefighters from the Bohumín station accepted this event at 17:49 and a minute later they were leaving the fire station with 1 fire truck with water and 1 automotive ladder. They arrived in the place of the evening at 5:50 pm. Flames were already whipping from the windows and a fire engulfed the entire apartment. In time 18:06  were already in place 6 fire trucks with water tanks, 2 ladder trucks and 28 firefighters.

Firefighters immediately began operations related to the rescue and evacuation of people. Within minutes, more units of both professional and volunteer units arrived. A 53 m high ladder from Ostrava also arrived at the site. A total of 8 fire brigades intervened on site with a total of 9 tanks, two car ladders, one platform and 46 firefighters. With the help of members of the Police we carried out the evacuation of the entire block of flats.

The fire was at the time of arrival of the first unit in place already so widespread that despite the immediate preparation and inflating rescue the drop mattresses, five people tried to rescue jumping out the window before he managed to inflate this mattress (The first person jumped at 18:01). Unfortunately, the injuries resulted in injuries incompatible with life. Another six people died in the apartment itself. This tragic event claimed a total of 11 victims.


The fire was likely arson

Firefighters localized the fire at 18:30, extinguishing took place both from the inside of the building and from the extended ladder. At 19:43, the fire was extinguished and an investigation into the causes of the fire and the rapid spread of the fire was started. The handler also arrived at the scene a specially trained dog to search for the presence of a burning accelerator. The search was positive, which explains why the fire spread so quickly.

The investigation of the causes of the fire took place all night and also the following day. The whole panel house was completely disconnected from the electricity and gas supply. Users of the house could return to their apartments during Sunday afternoon.


Two firefighters injured during the intervention

The first injured firefighter was a member of the Bohumín-Starý Bohumín volunteer unit, who inhaled the combustion products during the intervention and was taken to the hospital in Karviná. That evening, after a medical examination, a member of the volunteer unit was released into home care.

The second injured firefighter was a member of the Moravian-Silezian region fire brigade from the Bohumín station, who suffered 1st and 2nd degree burns in the neck area. The member was taken to the University Hospital in Ostrava, where after the initial treatment he stayed overnight for observation in a hospital facility. On Sunday morning, the member was released from the hospital to home care.


The total number of treated persons was 15, of which 10 persons were transported to medical facilities, including two intervening firefighters.

Four MSK fire brigade interventions who provided post-traumatic care also intervened at the scene.

Preliminary damage is estimated at CZK 1 mil. (40 000 EUR), Unofficial cause of the fire - a deliberate ignition."