Video: The Swakopmund Fire Brigade extinguishes a fire that started in the historic Hohenzollern-Haus. – Footage: Contributed by various sources
THE rich history of one Swakopmund’s most iconic buildings was almost destroyed when a fire started on the roof of the Hohenzollern-Haus earlier on Wednesday evening.
Swakopmund was recently chosen as the town of the year in Namibia because of its popularity with tourists and holiday makers and has many buildings with a unique architecture dating from the German colonial era.
The fire started at around 19:00 and it is reported that bystanders ran into the building in an attempt to extinguish the flames that seemed to have been confined to one apartment on the top floor of the old building.
When the Swakopmund Fire Brigade arrived on the scene a few minutes later they managed to extinguish the blaze completely and save the building and its very rich history.
The actual cause of the fire is not yet known but it is suspected that an electrical short circuit could have ignited chemical fumes which in turn set the wooden roof alight.
The old building is currently being restored and it is suspected that the warm air from the east weather caused the tar like chemical substance used in the roof sealing process to produce flammable fumes which caught alight when the electrical short circuit occurred.
The privately-owned Hohenzollern-Haus, was originally built in 1905 as an exclusive hotel to accommodate visiting aristocracy from Germany and at one time also functioned as a house of ill repute. It currently houses loft apartments.