BREMEN, Germany–Captain Daniel Freeman, Cologne corps officer, reports The Salvation Army’s four-story corps and senior home in Bremen, Germany, was totally destroyed by an explosion that killed 11 and injured 21. Most who died were senior residents.
“They believe construction workers on the street hit a gas line, the gas then leaked down into the basement of the Salvation Army building, and when a maintenance worker went into the basement, he caused the explosion by turning on the light,” said Freeman.
The building also housed the officer’s quarters and a youth center.
According to an Associated Press story, firefighters dug through the rubble attempting to find survivors. Six victims were identified: three were women ages 61, 86 and 90; two were men age 72, and one was 73 years old. Three remain unidentified. Miraculously, two survivors were found.
Approximately 100 fire fighters and emergency personnel were involved in the relief efforts.
Thirty people between the ages of 20-91 were registered as living in the building. Most were senior citizens.
Freeman added, “Even when the insurance gets resolved, there will still be a need for financial resources to get things going again.”
A memorial service was held at the cathedral, St. Petri Dom, in Bremen. Colonel Werner Frei, territorial commander, spoke. The president of the state of Bremen ordered all flags be flown at half mast.
Donations earmarked “Bremen Relief” may be sent to local Salvation Army units.