Fire In Reykjavík: Millions In Damage

Fire In Reykjavík: Millions In Damage, And Not The First Time

Published July 7, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Alda Villiljós

It is estimated that last night’s fire in Reykjavík did hundreds of millions in damage, while locals in the area defied police lines in order to take photos and record videos.

As reported, a fire broke out yesterday evening at the dry cleaning company Fönn in the business district of Skeifan, soon spreading to neighbouring businesses. While the full extent of the damage is still being assessed, RÚV reports that the total fire insurance coverage for Skeifan 11 is at around 1.8 billion ISK.

MBL added that firefighters were on the scene within two minutes of receiving a call from Securitas that a fire had broken out at Fönn. Firefighters fought the blaze for 12 hours before the fire was declared officially extinguished.

Other businesses were damaged in the fire, amongst them the office supply company Grifill. Vísir reports that a statement from the company declared their Skeifan building “completely ruined”, but promised that “we will rise quickly again from the ashes.”

Vísir also reports that crowd control proved a challenge, as bystanders disobeyed police orders to stay away from the blaze. So many people arrived, in fact, that there is no shortage of photographic and video material of the fire on Icelandic social media. One enterprising hot dog seller took advantage of the gathering crowd to sell his wares.

Former and current Reykjavík city officials have commented on the matter as well. Reykjavík mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson posted his thanks to police and firefighters on his Facebook, adding that he considered it too soon to start talking about rebuilding Skeifan “while people are still licking their wounds”, presumably from financial losses as no one was physically injured in the blaze.

Former Independence Party city councilperson Þorbjörg Helga Vigfúsdóttir tweeted, “This might hurt to say while the fire is still ablaze, but I hope the new Skeifan will be more beautiful than the one that burns.” Another former Independence Party city councilperson, Gísli Marteinn Baldursson, tweeted, “Can’t we market the Skeifan fire as a volcano? Eyjafjallajökull did good things for us. Inspired by Skeifan.” Later, he would retract the remark, saying, “Ah, I regret making some joke about the Skeifan fire. This looks like an incredible [fire]. I wish the firefighters well!”

RÚV also points out that this is not the first time Skeifan 11 has caught fire. In October 1975, a house fire in the area spread to two businesses. Fönn also caught on fire in July 2008, although little damage was done.

Below, you can see a sample of the numerous videos that were taken of the fire (with a special thanks to DV for compiling them.)

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