The photo, taken by American photographer Stephen Lam, shows a charred house amid neighboring houses. The house defied the flames and apparently survived the flames – but how is that possible?
The “Bild” newspaper put this question to Alfred Brohm, who headed the Berlin fire brigade for many years and was the head of the Federal Agency for Technical Relief for 13 years.
He believes that the Miracle House may be unscathed due to favorable air currents. “In all probability we’re talking about a swirling wind that moved the fire around the building around the house,” Brohm says.
Of course, there’s a lot of luck that winds up in front of a house, everywhere, the expert continues. In such a situation no precaution could have been taken by human hands to protect your own home.
Of course, the building should not be made of cardboard, because it is too hot around it. Flammable materials can catch fire immediately. “We’re talking about a big stone house.” Says a 70-year-old man.
Interestingly: the people would not have survived on the property anyway, because the surrounding fire would have deprived them of all oxygen. Broemme emphasizes: “We don’t know the exact events at the site, but people could have suffocated here if the surrounding flames had used up all the oxygen.”
At least 93 people have been killed in wildfires in the US state of Hawaii, and more are expected. As the governor announced on Sunday morning (Swiss time), only three percent of the disaster area had been searched. Another 1,000 are thought to be missing.
Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said the fire was so serious that the two bodies found so far could only be identified through DNA evidence.
Civil defense agency FEMA currently estimates that the disaster damaged or destroyed 2,200 buildings. According to initial estimates, the reconstruction will require at least CHF 4.8 billion.
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