On June 19th, Germany’s largest theme park suffered a large fire that began in the control room of one of the park’s many attractions. This, of course, is Europa-Park, located in Rust, Germany near the borders of France and Switzerland.
This park is beloved by many and is even occasionally referred to as “the Disneyland of Germany”. Europa Park holds the title of the second largest theme park in Europe behind Disneyland Paris. The park first opened its doors in 1975 with a handful of attractions, but today Europa-Park offers eighteen distinct areas themed around various European countries, thirteen roller coasters, and around one hundred attractions. The park recorded an impressive six million visitors last year.
On the 19th of June, at around 4:40 PM, a fire broke out in the Spanish-themed area of the park after some guests reported hearing a trio of unusual popping noises. Soon after, smoke was seen billowing high into the sky above the park and firefighters were swiftly called to the location to combat the blaze before it could get out of hand.
Nearly 25,000 guests were evacuated from the park as concern for visitor safety rose, and due to the swift action of park employees and firefighters as well as the backstage location of the fire, there were thankfully no casualties or threatening injuries.
As of now, an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire, but the most popular speculation involves some sort of mechanical failure behind the scenes. This would not be the first fire to take place at Europa-Park.
On May 26, 2018, firefighters were called to the scene after a fire broke out around the Scandinavia and Holland sections of the park. The blaze destroyed several buildings, shops, and even damaged some attractions before it was finally controlled. Although no guests or employees were injured, a number of firefighters sustained minor injuries during the event.
Despite this, the park opened the next day with the exception of the impacted buildings and rides. The cause of the 2018 Europa-Park fire was attributed to a technical malfunction inside the park’s fjørd water ride.
Whether or not the circumstances were similar in both fire-related incidents in the park’s history is currently unknown while the investigation from the recent fire is still ongoing, but with technological issues being one of the most prominent causes of fires in theme parks it seems likely this will be the determined cause.
Thankfully, it seems as though the fire of June 19 was much better contained than the one a few years ago. The recent fire destroyed one of the control rooms and damaged some nearby shops and attractions, but the park quickly reopened in the aftermath.