Destructive fire in Sweden

"En liten läcka kan sänka ett stort skepp." "A small leak can sink a large ship," goes a Swedish saying. An equally devastating event occurred at Vänern Åmål, Sweden, but in this case, 130 boats fell victim to fire.

Zerstörerisches SchwedenfeuerWhen the fire department in the small village Åmål was notified that cool January night, the fire in the winter storage facility located directly at Vänern was already out of control. The storage facility, with 130 sailboats and motorboats inside, went up in flames. The responders couldn't do much more than stand by while the inferno raged.

For reasons of environmental protection, the fire department didn't even try to put out the fire. There was a danger that polluted, chemically laced bilge water might flow into Sweden's largest lake, which serves as a drinking water reservoir for the surrounding communities. Pollution would have had far-reaching consequences.

In all, boats and equipment valued at 300 million Swedish kronor (roughly EUR 30 million) were lost to the fire. These included two sailing yachts that were insured by Pantaenius, Europe's largest insurance expert in aquatic sports: A 5 KR mahogany yacht, built in 1967, and a fibreglass Compromis 888. Both cases were total losses.

Zerstörerisches SchwedenfeuerThe Pantaenius claims department in Hamburg immediately contacted an adjuster, who was confronted by a scene of complete devastation. The investigation ultimately revealed that only steel and cast iron withstood the tremendous heat. Aluminium had melted down beyond all recognition; wood and plastic had burned to ashes. A few motors, trailers, petrol tanks, fire extinguishers, and two steel boats were all that could be identified. And all that remained of the winter storage facility were the foundation walls and a few steel beams.

The cause of the fire could not be positively determined. The only thing that investigators could say for sure is that fire made its way into the facility from the outside. The damage suffered by both Pantaenius customers were settled in the full amount.

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