When everything is destroyed – what happens after a farmhouse fire? – News


Those affected by house fires often experience a lot of solidarity. Municipalities weigh up what help really helps.

January 6, 2023: A fire broke out in a farmhouse in Albligen in the canton of Bern. When the fire brigade arrived, the attic was already ablaze. Nine people who were in the apartments and in the house across the street when the fire broke out were able to escape independently. However, the material damage is great and the destruction immense.

A few weeks later: Not much is left of the former farmhouse. Charred beams pierce the gray winter sky. The owner stands in front of the burnt ruins and remembers this fateful day. “What was particularly impressive was how quickly the fire spread,” says the man, who himself lived in the more than 100-year-old building that his grandfather bought a long time ago. The man wants to remain anonymous so that, as he says, he can focus on his work as a self-employed craftsman. Well-intentioned calls would only waste time.

After the fire in Albligen – the pictures

In addition to the fire brigade, the neighbors were also there immediately and offered their help. “I had the first offers for apartments that afternoon – that was impressive.” The municipality of Schwarzenburg, to which Albligen belongs, also reacted quickly and organized a fundraising campaign. Around 20,000 francs were raised. The money is paid out continuously – to all three families who lived in the house.

Prefer monetary donations to donations in kind

The fire in Albligen is not the first in the region. In the past one would have rather helped with donations in kind, now with money. “We noticed that those affected received many things – for example clothes – for free,” says Mayor Urs Rohrbach. “Money is more useful for initially uncovered expenses.”

It is always a matter of weighing up where and when the community launches such a fundraiser, says Rohrbach. The exchange with other mayors was also helpful.

December 2021: An apartment building burns down in Hindelbank. Here, too, the solidarity is great. Those affected receive donations. Mayor Daniel Wenger remembers that people from all over the canton donated.

If the waste container unexpectedly costs a lot

Those affected could use the money to shell out uncovered expenses, for example for dumpsters for disposal or toys. The City Council discussed and approved the application. According to Mayor Wenger, between 40,000 and 60,000 francs were raised. What advice does he give to communities on how to deal with such cases? “There is no specific approach. Every case is different.”

Back with the owner of the burnt down house in Albligen near Schwarzenburg. He and his wife now live next door in the Stöckli with their daughter, just a few steps from the ruins of the fire. The gratitude for the help of the community and all the people who have donated money is great. The owner has building insurance and household contents insurance, but he cannot yet say what uncovered costs he will incur.

The man from Albligen wants to look ahead. “If everything goes well, I’ll soon be able to build a new house – one that is also up-to-date in terms of energy.” The owner of the farmhouse, which lies in ruins, looks to the future with confidence. Above all, because he knows that the neighbors, the community – yes, the entire region – is behind him.

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