War zone? No, no, no, ”garden of roses”.

Parts of the infamous district Rosengård (rosegarden) is today easily mistaken for a warzone. It isn’t of course, but it sure looks like it. Because this Easter about twohundred cars were damaged as underground garages were set on fire. And the pictures speak for themselves.

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***

Our team is the third to arrive to the scene and we are met by smokepillars rising over the eight-story biuldings as we roll in.

SOS lets us know, just before we arrive, that we should be a little extra careful today, the police has informed them that a lot of people are gathering. We know the drill, put on the special glasses with protective lenses against lasers, no investigations by ourselves, stay with the group, at all times. Unfortunately earplugs is not an option, that would mean loss of ability to communicate over the radio. So we decide that if one of us yells explosives, all of us cover our ears with our hands. Hopefully then we will not meet the same fate one of our teamleaders suffered over christmas when a banger gave him tinnitus.

I am one of three smokedivers on fire engine 1010, and our first order is given before we leave our vehicle. We are to make sure that smoke from the garage does not enter the nearby lying appartmentbuildings through connecting corridors. It doesn’t. The residents are safe. A lot of them, however, gather close to the garage, worried about their cars, inhaling the toxic smoke. We tell them to leave. Smoke from carfires is extremely toxic and the plume rises and falls between the walls of the buildings. Kids in their mothers arms are sometimes engulfed, and the knowledge on how dangerous the smoke is is not widespread among the residents.

Our next order is to enter the garage and put out the fire. And that we do.

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As we enter the garage, thoughts fly through my head, my position this night is smoke diver leader, I am responsible for the safety of my two colleagues who are supposed to push forward until they reach the fire. In this case, the inferno. As we enter the garage, my IR camera indicates temperatures of 50°C in the concrete roof, 60 metres away from the hottest spot. The garage is as big as a soccerfield, and it is pitch black. It is like entering something out of movie. That which I can see through my camera is distorted, my eyes are fed a deceptive reality. Everything looks clean and beautiful streaks of smoke play in the colors of the rainbow. It looks like art, a masterpiece. And we are alone, I cant see the end of the garage, and I cant see the exit. I can feel the heat though, I can actually hear it. It crackles and pops, and water hisses as it cools the surface of a dussin cars, a tire explodes, or maybe an airbag, the boom resonates before it fades away out into the empty space. A strange calm finds me, everything  that could have gone wrong, didn’t. In fact, everything is under control, my colleagues are doing a tremendous job, and I know we’ve got this.

The radio springs to life, our teamleader wants to know how we are proceeding. I tell him we are doing good but that we will soon have to make our retreat as the pressure in our bottles quickly drops. Another smoke diving team picks up when we leave. And soon thereafter, the job is done. It is well done.

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This garagefire engaged all of Malmös engines, as well as two ladders, leaving only one ladder to cover a city of 300.000 people, thus robbing from its citizens the safety net that they pay hard earned money for. This is a serious crime. And I sincerely hope that the arsonists are found.

Emptying a city of its lifesavers is probably one of the dumbest things you could possibly do. It is above reckless. My guess is that you who started these fires do not understand the consequences of your actions. If you do, then rot in jail.

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// Kaj Engelke

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Under påsken har Malmös brandmän släckt ett fyrtiotal bilar, delvis eller helt utbrända. Men uppskattningsvis 200+ har blivit skadade. Dessa bilar har stått i underjordiska garage.

Bilderna är tagna med min mobil i orienteringssyfte dagen efter branden. Ni är välkomna att dela bilderna i informationssyfte. Vänligen uppge dock mitt namn som fotograf. Och länka gärna till bloggen.

// Kaj Engelke

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