Two firefighters were killed in flood operations just a few kilometers away from each other. One had just helped himself to save a person from the floods.
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Because of the extreme rainfall in parts of North Rhine-Westphalia, a firefighter drowned during his mission. The 46-year-old was involved in one of the major operations in Altena in the Märkisches Kreis because of the flooding when the accident occurred. About two hours later, a 52-year-old firefighter collapsed in Werdohl (also Märkischer Kreis).
As the police in Iserlohn announced, the 46-year-old was with his comrades around 5 p.m. on a rescue mission in Altena: There a man had to be rescued from the water. The emergency services also managed to do this on the submerged Nettestrasse.
On the way back to the emergency vehicle, the firefighter fell into the water while getting in. The horrified comrades had to watch as he was carried away by the current. A short time later, the man could only be recovered dead. Police spokesman Dietmar Boronowski: “It is a tragic accident.”
The next drama occurred at 7 p.m.: The 52-year-old collapsed while on duty in Werdohl. Helpers tried to reanimate him, but had to give up: the man was dead, the cause was an internal emergency, the police initially suspected.
“Tragic if we lose one of ours in action”
Numerous fire departments had already expressed condolences on social networks after the first death became known. The President of the German Fire Brigade Association. Karl-Heinz Banse expressed sadness: “Our thoughts are with his family and the members of the fire brigade. It is tragic if we lose one of ours in action,” explains DFV President Karl-Heinz Banse.
The firefighters in the Märkischer Kreis have already had more than 100 missions since Tuesday. They fought against masses of water, earth and rubble. In Altena, large amounts of water had fallen onto the city in several places from the surrounding slopes, and “massive slides” had occurred. Fire fighters from the Minden-Lübbecke and Höxter districts were sent into the city on Wednesday evening to relieve the exhausted and shocked comrades. According to initial plans, they should stay for two days.
The Iserlohn police appealed several times to people to stay at home if possible so as not to endanger themselves or others.