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No charges to be brought in firefighter tragedy

The roof of the car park in Gretzenbach caved in, killing seven firefighters in November 2004


Nearly a year after seven firemen were killed while battling a blaze in northwestern Switzerland, prosecutors say no one is to be brought to book.

The men died when the roof of a carpark collapsed while they were dealing with a fire. The incident was the worst involving the emergency services in Swiss history.

The prosecutor in canton Solothurn said on Tuesday that he would not be bringing charges against anyone in connection with the November 2004 tragedy in the town of Gretzenbach.

The prosecutor stated that certain deficiencies in the building's construction meant that the fire alone did not cause the roof to cave in.

However, since the problems were present from the time the car park was built in 1990, a statute of limitation applied. This meant that legal redress for negligence could only have been sought within seven years of the building's construction.


Interested parties, such as the families of the deceased, now have time to respond to the prosecutor's decision. What remains open is whether the relatives will make a case for damages.

A technical defect in a parked car was thought to have sparked off the fire in question.

The deaths touched a nerve in Switzerland, with more than a thousand mourners from the firefighting community attending a memorial service last year, which was also attended by the then Swiss president Joseph Deiss.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

No one will be held accountable for the deaths of seven firefighters in Gretzenbach.

The prosecutor stated that deficiencies in the building's construction meant that the fire alone did not cause the roof to cave in.

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