Saturday, 8 July 2017

En Fuego... Literally

This quiet little property is known as the Gigantium. Better known by its sponsored name, the Jutlander Bank Arena, the rink is home to the Aalborg Pirates in Denmark's Metal Ligaen. While it sits quiet right now, the arena is usually rocking when its main tenant is winning hockey games. It's a rather impressive building, seating 5000 fans for hockey and 8500 for concerts, making it the largest rink in the Metal Ligaen when it comes to the hockey part of its life. Aalborg Håndbold, the Danish Handball League entry, also plays its games at the Gigantium. Needless to say, it's a building that is bustling with sporting and musical activity on most days, but there was an entirely different sort of activity taking place at the building over the last few days.

Fire crews and police were called down to the rink on Wednesday morning after being notified by an employee that a portion of the building was on fire. According to reports, the handball facility took the brunt of the damage while the swimming and skating buildings were spared from the damage. Thanks to the quick actions by firefighters, it sounds as if the damage suffered by the Gigantium might be less than what was estimated.

"The extent of the damage actually looks reasonable considering the sight we met when we arrived at the scene. We initiated a strong response in order to limit damage," firefighter team leader Anders Brosbøl told The Local. "There is also water damage caused by all the water we used. But it looks like we will be able to salvage the wooden floor."

This is good news for handball fans, albeit still terrible news. While the handball facility will certainly be out of commission for some time, having the rest of the facility unaffected by the fire is a credit to the local firefighters' efforts. Handball has a very large following in Europe, and Aalborg's fans are no different as the sport ranks second in popularity in the community behind the soccer club. It will take some time to rebuild the handball facility, but the fact that the firefighters worked hard and saved the floor - an important part of the handball game - deserves some major kudos.

Thankfully, no one was injured in the blaze. One firefighter went to the hospital for observation, but he reportedly is fine. The only other employee that may have been affected by the fire seems to be a staff member who was using a weed burner on the exterior to get rid of some unwanted vegetation. It seems that the weed burner was the cause of the fire. Police reports state that the employee was removing weeds when he discovered that the building had caught fire. He then wisely contacted fire services. Unfortunately for the employee, charges of breaching safety and a fine will be handed out as per the police report.

Why am I reporting on a fire at a sportsplex half a planet away? As you may know, friend of the blog Brandon Reid is the head coach for the Aalborg Pirates. Thankfully, his team won't be affected by the fire, but it's still pretty brutal to see the handball team lose their home. The best part of this accident, though, is that there were thankfully no casualties. For something as innocent as a weed burner to cause this fire, it's always a relief that no families were affected by a major tragedy. Let's just hope that this serves a purpose in knowing how to use tools properly and safely.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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